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Shanks v Unilever: the sweet smell of success

Date: 14 February 2020


In its judgment of 23 October 2019, the Supreme Court has decided to rule in favour of an inventor who sought compensation from his employer in respect of patents for devices used in chemical test procedures (the biosensor technology eventually appeared in most blood glucose monitoring kits for diabetics).


The Supreme Court has allowed an appeal from a Court of Appeal ruling and found that that Professor Ian Shanks was entitled to £2 million in employee compensation under ss 40(1) and 41 of the Patents Act 1977.


In arriving at this decision, the Supreme Court has clarified the circumstances in which courts might award compensation in these circumstances and how the amount of that compensation should be determined.


Our full article appears in the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice Volume 15, Issue 2, February 2020, Pages 76–78.


To read more on cases involving intellectual property disputes between employers and employees, follow the link: Prosyscor Ltd v Netsweeper