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Factory foreman entitled to keep his design.

16/08/2010

Mr Collymore was a factory foreman at Metroll, which made and sold water tanks..   Mr Collymore’s employment contract did not exactly define his role nor contemplate that he might come up with new designs.  His day to day work involved supervision of manufacturing, quality control and despatch of water tank products. Mr Collymore developed some original rainwater tank designs in his own time after work, having been inspired by horse playing with a hose in a water trough at his home.     His employed argued that he created the designs in the course of his employment.

The Court found Mr Collymore was not employed to design tanks for Metroll and, accordingly, created the Designs outside of the course of his employment.  According to Justice Spender, as Mr Collymore was not employed in any broadly inventive role and as there was a specific direction by the employer,  then his invention was not created in the course of employment.  Mr Collymore’s employer was not entitled to prevent design registration.

Read the full text of the Feneral’s Court’s decision in  Collymore Courier Pete Pty Ltd  v Metroll Queensland Pty Ltd

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