Within FMV are the defence authorities' joint patent department for handling matters about patents, designs, trademarks, copyrights, the acquisition of inventions, licensing and infringement issues. Support is also provided to other government agencies in these areas.
FMV's patent unit is a shared patent department for all agencies under the Ministry of Defence. Other government agencies and companies are potential customers. The unit works mainly in three areas:
- intellectual property rights
- employer/labor issues in intellectual propert
- defence confidentiality issues
The patent unit reviews inventions and patents, and prepares and completes patent applications in Sweden and abroad. The unit monitors others' patent applications in key areas and provides information on new patents in the field of defence.
If necessary, the patent unit submits objections to others' patents if the defence perceives them intrusive, or if innovation obstacles may be encountered. The unit investigates supposed infringement of others' patents for defence procurement or use of technology. Design and trademark applications are handled in a similar manner, although to a lesser extent.
Copyright issues relating to pictures, books, music, computer programs, etc., as regards both what rights the defence have as different infringe issues, are also managed at the patent unit.
As regards employer/labor issues concerning employees' inventions, the Act (1949:345) on the Right to Employee Inventions (LAU) applies. For other intellectual property rights there is no corresponding law, but the issue is handled in accordance with the practice in each area.
The patent unit is also uniting to give the defence's view on the issue of confidentiality of defence inventions, under the Act (1971:1078) on defence inventions (FUL). The Review Commission for defence inventions then makes the decision. These cases are reviewed once a year. For some questions, the patent unit is directly responsible for decision-making. This includes the inventions that come from countries with which Sweden has signed bilateral agreements, to classify patent applications that are secret in the country of origin.
Recently, even a multilateral agreement was reached, with similar content. According to FUL it is possible to apply directly to FMV to get defence secret matters tested, even if the invention is not patented.
Defence inventions abroad
If an invention or patent application is classified according to Swedish law 1971:1078, The Defence Inventions Act, it can, after permission from the Swedish government, be applied for in the nations with which Sweden has bilateral agreements regarding mutual protection of inventions for which patent has been applied for. These nations are
- United Kingdom
The existing general agreement for the defence industry (LOI, SÖ 2001 – 13) and its implementing rules (SÖ 20017:45) and the bilateral agreements with the respective nations, can be found using the links here.