JapanHow firms should pay ‘reasonable value’ to employee-inventors

In January 2004 the Tokyo District Court issued a surprising decision concerning employee inventions. The lawsuit was brought by Shuji Nakamura, the inventor of blue-light-emitting diodes, against his former employer, Nichia Corporation, a closely held Japanese chemicals company, for the payment of ‘reasonable value’ for his invention. The court determined that the reasonable value to be paid to Nakamura for the invention’s transfer was approximately ¥60 billion (although the actual amount awarded was ¥20 billion, which was the amount demanded by Nakamura; it was also the largest amount to have been awarded in such a case at that date).

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