Patents, trade marks, copyright and designs in Norway: overview

A guide to intellectual property law in Norway. The Main IPRs Q&A gives an overview of the protection and enforcement of the following IPRs: patents, trade marks, registered designs, unregistered designs, copyright and confidential information.

To compare answers across multiple jurisdictions, visit the patents, trade marks and designs Country Q&A tool.

This Q&A is part of the multi-jurisdictional guide to IP law. For a full list of jurisdictional Q&As visit www.practicallaw.com/ip-mjg.

Steinar Lie and Kristine S Snyder, Bryn Aarflot AS
Contents

Patents

1. What are the legal requirements to obtain a patent?

To be patentable, an invention must:

  • Be of a technical character.

  • Be susceptible of industrial application.

  • Be new in relation to the prior art.

  • Differ essentially from prior art (that is, must show an inventive step).

 
2. What categories are excluded from patent protection?

The following are excluded from patent protection:

  • Scientific theories and ideas.

  • Surgical and therapeutic methods.

  • Plants and animals.

  • Animal and plant producing methods.

 
3. Which authority registers patents? Does its website provide guidance on the application procedure?

The Norwegian Industrial Property Office (NIPO) is the regulatory authority. Full details on procedure and patentability/grounds for refusal are available on its website (www.patentstyret.no).

 
4. On what grounds and when can third parties oppose a patent application or challenge an issued patent?

Third parties can oppose a patent application or challenge an issued patent when the:

  • Criteria for patentability are not met.

  • Scope of the application/registration is too broad.

  • Description does not enable the skilled person to carry out the invention.

An opposition can be filed during the application process or within a nine-month opposition period.

 
5. When does patent protection start and how long does it last?

Protection is granted from the filing date/international filing date. Protection lasts for 20 years. An additional five years of protection is available for medical inventions.

 
6. On what grounds can a patent infringement action be brought?

A patent infringement action can be brought when a third party markets, offers to sell, produces, or uses a patented product or patented process.

 
7. Which courts deal with patent infringement actions?

Patent infringement actions are dealt with by the Oslo City Court.

 
8. What are the defences to patent infringement actions?

The defences to patent infringement actions are:

  • Non-infringement.

  • Invalidity of the patent.

  • That the allegedly infringing product or process belongs to prior art.

  • Private use.

  • License.

  • Patent exhaustion.

 
9. What are the remedies in patent infringement actions?

The remedies in patent infringement actions are:

  • Monetary compensation.

  • Withdrawal/destruction of infringing products.

  • Criminal sanctions.

 
10. Is there a fast-track and/or a small-claims procedure for patent infringement actions?

There is no fast-track or small-claims procedure for patent infringement actions.

 

Trade marks

11. What are the legal requirements to obtain a trade mark?

The legal requirements to obtain a trade mark are as follows:

  • The mark is non-descriptive.

  • The mark is inherently distinctive.

  • The mark can be represented graphically.

 
12. Is it necessary or advisable to register trade marks?

Use-acquired rights are available. However, it is always advisable to register due to fairly strict use requirements.

 
13. Which authority registers trade marks? Does its website provide guidance on the application procedure?

The Norwegian Industrial Property Office (NIPO) is the regulatory authority. Full details on procedure and patentability/grounds for refusal are available on its website (www.patentstyret.no).

 
14. On what grounds can the regulatory authority refuse to register a trade mark?

The Norwegian Industrial Property Office (NIPO) performs an ex officio examination of both the absolute and relative grounds for registration. The main grounds for refusal are:

  • Descriptiveness.

  • Lack of inherent distinctive character.

  • Deceptiveness.

  • Likelihood of confusion with a prior right.

  • Unfair competition.

 
15. On what grounds and when can third parties oppose a trade mark application or cancel a registration?

Third parties can oppose a trade mark application or seek to cancel a registration on the following grounds:

  • Descriptiveness.

  • Lack of inherent distinctive character.

  • Deceptiveness.

  • Likelihood of confusion with a prior right.

  • Unfair competition.

 
16. When does trade mark protection start and how long does it last?

A trade mark registration can be renewed every ten years indefinitely.

 
17. On what grounds can a trade mark infringement action be brought?

A trade mark infringement action can be brought on the grounds of likelihood of confusion in the market (for example, marks and signs that are identical or similar).

 
18. Which courts deal with trade mark infringement actions?

Trade mark infringement actions can be deal with by all Norwegian city/district courts.

 
19. What are the defences to trade mark infringement actions?

The defences to trade mark infringement actions are:

 
20. What are the remedies in trade mark infringement actions?

The remedies in trade mark infringement actions are:

  • Damages, reasonable license fee.

  • Withdrawal/destruction of infringing products.

  • Criminal sanctions (fines/imprisonment).

 
21. Is there a fast-track and/or a small-claims procedure for trade mark infringement actions?

There is no fast-track or small claims procedure for trade mark infringement actions.

 

Copyright

22. What are the legal requirements to obtain copyright protection?

To obtain copyright protection, the work must be an original work.

 
23. Can copyright be registered? If so, is registration required?

Copyright cannot be registered (there is no copyright registry).

 
24. When does copyright protection start and how long does it last?

Copyright protection starts with the creation of the work and ends 70 years after the author's death.

 
25. On what grounds can a copyright infringement action be brought?

A copyright infringement action can be brought on the following grounds:

  • The work has been reproduced or made publically available.

  • There has been a violation of the author's moral rights.

  • There has been a derogatory use of the work (harming the author's reputation).

 
26. Which courts deal with copyright infringement actions?

Copyright infringement actions can be dealt with by any City/District Court.

 
27. What are the defences to copyright infringement actions?

The defences to copyright infringement actions are:

  • Not a protected artistic work.

  • No reproduction.

  • No exploitation of the author's rights.

  • Fair use.

  • License.

  • Independent artistic work.

 
28. What are the remedies in copyright infringement actions?

The remedies in copyright infringement actions are:

  • Damages and reasonable royalties.

  • Withdrawal/destruction of infringing work.

 
29. Is there a fast-track and/or a small-claims procedure for copyright infringement actions?

There is no fast-track or small claims procedure for copyright infringement actions.

 

Registered designs

30. What are the legal conditions to obtain a registered design right?

The legal conditions to obtain a registered design right are:

  • Novelty.

  • Individual character.

  • Not functional.

  • No conflicting prior rights.

 
31. Which authority registers designs?

Designs are registered by the Norwegian Industrial Property Office (NIPO).

 
32. On what grounds and when can third parties oppose a registered design application?

Third parties can oppose a design registration application on the basis of the design not satisfying the conditions required for registration (see Question 30).

 
33. When does registered design protection start and how long does it last?

Protection starts on the filing date and lasts for up to 25 years.

 
34. On what grounds can a registered design infringement action be brought?

Third parties can bring a registered design infringement action on the basis of the design conflicting with a prior registered right, or conflicting with any of the other conditions specified in Question 30.

 
35. Which courts deal with registered design infringement actions?

Registered design infringement actions can be brought by any Norwegian City/District Court.

36.

 
36. What are the defences to registered design infringement actions?

The defences to registered design infringement actions are:

  • Invalidity.

  • Non-infringement.

  • No exclusive right.

  • Fair use.

 
37. What are the remedies in registered design infringement actions?

The remedies in registered design infringement actions are:

  • Damages or reasonable license fee.

  • Withdrawal/destruction of infringing products.

  • Criminal sanctions.

 
38. Is there a fast-track and/or a small-claims procedure for registered design infringement actions?

There is no fast-track or small-claims procedure for registered design infringement actions.

 

Unregistered designs

39. What are the legal conditions for unregistered design rights to arise?

Unregistered designs can be protected as copyrighted work or under the Marketing Control Act prohibiting unlawful imitation.

 
40. When does unregistered design protection start and how long does it last?

Not applicable.

 
41. On what grounds can an unregistered design infringement action be brought?
 
42. What are the defences to unregistered design infringement actions?

The defences to unregistered design infringement actions are:

  • The design is not unique.

  • No imitation.

  • No factual risk of confusion.

  • No copyright protection.

 
43. What are the remedies in unregistered design infringement actions?

The remedies in unregistered design infringement actions are:

  • Damages, reasonable license fee.

  • Withdrawal/destruction of infringing products.

  • Use prohibition.

 

Trade secrets and confidential information

44. What are the legal conditions for rights in confidential information to arise?

The legal conditions for rights in confidential information to arise are as follows:

  • The information is company-specific.

  • The information is of value to the company.

  • The information is not part of the public domain.

  • The information has been held as confidential.

 
45. On what grounds can an action for unauthorised use of confidential information be brought?

An action can be brought on the grounds of unauthorised disclosure of confidential information to third parties.

 
46. Which courts deal with actions for unauthorised use of confidential information?

Actions for an unauthorised use of confidential information can be made to any Norwegian City/District Court.

 
47. What are the defences to actions for unauthorised use of confidential information?

The defences to actions for unauthorised use of confidential information are:

  • Information is publicly known.

  • Information not held confidential.

  • Disclosure was authorised.

 
48. What are the remedies in actions for unauthorised use of confidential information?

The remedies in actions for unauthorised use of confidential information are:

  • Damages.

  • Return of disclosed information (if relevant).

 
49. Is there a fast-track and/or a small-claims procedure for actions for unauthorised use of confidential information?

There is no fast-track or small-claims procedure for actions for unauthorised use of confidential information.

 

The regulatory authority

Norwegian Industrial Property Office

W www.patentstyret.no/en

Main areas of responsibility. Processes applications for trade marks, designs and patents. Solves disputes in opposition cases and requests for administrative review.

Guidance on application procedure. Relevant information is found on the above website.

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Contributor profiles

Steinar Lie, Partner

Bryn Aarflot AS

T +47 4690 3000
F +47 2200 3131
E sl@baa.no
W www.baa.no

Professional qualifications. Norway, attorney-at-law

Areas of practice. IPR litigation, trade mark and design prosecution, copyright, unfair competition.

Non-professional qualifications. BA in literary science, University of Oslo

Recent transactions. Litigating at the district court and appeal court for large international companies concerning patent infringement, trade mark conflict and a domain name dispute.

Professional associations/memberships. Member of the bar association.

Languages. Norwegian and English. Working knowledge of Spanish and German.

Kristine S Snyder, Partner

Bryn Aarflot AS

T +47 4690 3000
F +47 2200 3131
E kss@baa.no
W www.baa.no

Professional qualifications. Norway, attorney-at-law

Areas of practice. IPR litigation, trademark and design prosecution, copyright, unfair competition.

Recent transactions. Litigating at the district court and appeal court for large international companies concerning patent infringement, trademark conflict and domain name dispute.

Professional associations/memberships. Member of the bar association.

Languages. Norwegian and English. Working knowledge of German.


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