Legal Translation Services
and Intellectual Property in Sweden

Swedish to English Legal Document Translation

English to Swedish Patent Translation Services

Swedish to English legal document translation services and technical patent translation services play an important role in IP. Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind – inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce. They are protected against infringement through IP regulations. In Sweden, the main IP laws are:

  • Copyright Act
  • Patent Act
  • Trademark Act
  • Trade Names Act

Further, in Sweden, intangible assets such as trade secrets (customer lists), copyrights, patents, trademarks and goodwill may also be sold or licensed.

According to Swedish law, a patent gives the patent owner the sole right to exploit an invention. In other words, nobody may use your invention commercially, such as by manufacturing, selling or importing it, without your permission. In general, this right is applicable for a period of 20 years, although some pharmaceuticals and plant protection agents can receive a further five years’ protection. Once the patent has expired, others are allowed to use your invention. To gain a patent in Sweden, the applicable costs on average is SEK 50000-70000. An annual fee is also charged for patent maintenance.

Another option for protecting IP rights in Sweden is the trademark, which is a distinctive feature that differentiates your goods or services from others, or accentuates your product with its name or a graphic symbol. The trademark may consist of any symbols that can be reproduced graphically such as letters, numbers and figures. For sole rights to a trademark, you have to register or establish it, with registration being renewed every 10 years. Unlike other countries, in Sweden the ® or TM trademark sign have no legal effect.

Finally, IP may be protected under Swedish law via a copyright, which is defined as the right that the creator of a literary or artistic work has over the work in question. Unlike a patent or trademark, a copyright exists automatically when the work satisfies the relevant requirements (‘verkshöjd’ in Swedish). ‘Verkshöjd’ is a measure of the originality, individuality and independence of a work. Copyright does not need to be asserted by way of registration or similar procedures.

A patent, trademark or copyright under Swedish law only protects your invention in Sweden unless specific steps are taken. If you have registered a trademark in Sweden, you can apply for international trademark registration via the Swedish Patent and Registration Office. The application will be forwarded to the International Office of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). In the application, which has to be in English, you indicate which countries you want the registration to cover. It should be noted that the application for a Swedish patent, trademark or copyright must be submitted in Swedish, thus an English to Swedish translation is likely to be required at some point.

As the Swedish law on patents, trademarks and copyright is similar to the international requirements, the same standard for approval is used. For patents, this standard for approval involves a formal examination of the application, which is subsequently followed up by a technical test. In order to be granted a patent, the invention must:

  • Be new
  • Exhibit inventiveness
  • Be able to be used industrially

If the administration comes back with a decision that you are not satisfied with, you may appeal against the decision before the Court of Patent Appeals (PBR), without incurring costs. If leave to appeal is issued, then the PBR’s decision can in turn be appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court (Regeringsrätten).

An interesting component to Swedish IP law concerns the ownership of IP Research (IPR) and R&D situations, such as when an employee makes an invention while in the employment of the employer. According to Swedish law, in IPR and R&D situations, the IP rights can only pass from the employee, inventor or researcher to the employer, principal or assigner when an agreement allows it.

The Patent Act clearly states that it is the inventor that has the right to apply for a patent. Further, according to the Law of Rights to Employee’s Inventions (REI), an employee has the same right to inventions as other inventors, with a few exceptions:

• If the employee mainly works with R&D and the invention essentially is a product of that R&D or the invention is the solution to a specific assignment, the employer has the right to the invention, so long as they give reasonable compensation.

• If the employee has created an invention in connection with work not related to R&D but it falls within the employer’s area of business, the employer only has the right to utilize the invention in his or her business. Although the employer must compensate for such utilization, the employee cannot refuse the employers right to utilize.

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