Norway updates

Banking

Contributed by Advokatfirmaet Grette AS
Coverage level under deposit guarantee scheme reduced for overseas depositors
  • Norway
  • 08 February 2019

For many years, the coverage level under the Norwegian deposit guarantee scheme has been significantly higher than the target that was introduced by the EU Deposit Guarantee Schemes Directive to achieve a fully harmonised coverage level. However, recent amendments to the Act on Financial Institutions and Financial Groups have reduced the coverage level for customers in the European Union that have deposits in Norwegian banks which offer services in their country on a cross-border basis.

FSAN publishes draft regulation on prudent consumer lending practices
  • Norway
  • 02 November 2018

In 2017 the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway (FSAN) published guidelines on prudent consumer lending practices. However, in order to strengthen the FSAN's ability to ensure that the 2017 guidelines are actually implemented, it has now proposed that they be converted into a regulation. This would make it easier for the FSAN to impose penalties on institutions that fail to comply with the rules.

New court ruling on ownership of qualified interests in Norwegian financial institutions
  • Norway
  • 31 August 2018

The Oslo District Court recently ruled in favour of Netfonds Bank AS/Netfonds Livsforsikring AS and ordered the state to pay NKr55 million in damages for failing to comply with its obligations under the EEA Agreement. The case concerned the government's practice of denying licensing to financial institutions which have ownership positions that exceed 25% of their share capital. If it stands, the ruling should result in changes to both administrative practice and the new Financial Institutions Act 2015.


Employment & Benefits

Contributed by Homble Olsby Advokatfirma AS
Discrimination based on religious grounds: employee's refusal to shake hands with women
  • Norway
  • 23 January 2019

The Anti-discrimination Tribunal recently concluded that a municipality's refusal to extend a temporary employee's contract after he refused to meet their requirement to shake hands with women did not constitute discrimination. However, the tribunal concluded that the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration had discriminated against the employee when it cancelled his social aid following his refusal to comply with the municipality's requirement.

Supreme Court rules on whether employees can choose employer following transfer of undertakings
  • Norway
  • 14 November 2018

A non-statutory Norwegian rule provides employees with the right to choose to stay with their former employer following a transfer of undertakings provided that certain conditions are met. In this regard, the Supreme Court recently ruled that employees who are subject to a transfer of undertakings can choose to stay with their former employer if it is likely that they will lose their early retirement pension under the new employer.

Employer warnings may be challenged in court
  • Norway
  • 15 August 2018

The Supreme Court recently ruled in a case in which an employee had challenged the lawfulness of a warning issued by their employer. Prior to this case, Norwegian lawyers had generally been of the view that warnings were part of an employer's right of management and that the courts would not try cases challenging such warnings as they have no actual consequence.

Travel time is working time: Supreme Court confirms EFTA Court's approach
  • Norway
  • 27 June 2018

The Supreme Court recently concluded that time spent travelling on an employer's orders constitutes working time. This conclusion is in line with a recent European Free Trade Association Court advisory opinion and has ended a four-year legal battle. The judgment will have a broad impact on the Norwegian labour market, as it raises the level of protection available for employees.

EFTA Court confirms that travel time is working time
  • Norway
  • 14 February 2018

A recent European Free Trade Association Court decision found that travel time in itself constitutes working time if the travel is ordered by the employer. Some employers have argued that the inclusion of travel time in the concept of working time may lead to inexpedient results. However, the court did not agree with this argument. Including necessary travel time in the concept of working time is inevitable in order to protect the safety and health of workers.


Energy & Natural Resources

Contributed by Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig AS
Cybersecurity on Norwegian Continental Shelf
  • Norway
  • 25 June 2018

Operators and non-operating petroleum licensees on the Norwegian Continental Shelf must establish emergency preparedness and implement measures to deal with any risks to their petroleum activities. Traditionally, this emergency preparedness planning has been directed towards conventional risks, such as non-deliberate accidents and emergencies resulting from human mistakes, technical errors or weather conditions. However, cybersecurity is also becoming a major concern for the oil and gas industry.

Transfers of Norwegian petroleum licences: is government approval regime tightening?
  • Norway
  • 12 March 2018

An increased number of corporate transactions and mergers have been observed in the oil and gas sector on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) in recent years. Several oil majors and traditional utilities and downstream companies have reduced their presence and broad portfolio sales and swaps of NCS licences have become increasingly common. These changes in trends are highly relevant for the government, which aims to maintain a high level of activity on the NCS.

Parent company guarantee requirement for future decommissioning cost in corporate transfers on NCS
  • Norway
  • 18 December 2017

In 2016 the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy announced that in all future corporate transfers subject to ministry approval it would consider requiring security from the seller establishing a secondary liability for future decommissioning costs. The ministry will require any seller of a licensee or of a licensee's parent company to provide an unlimited parent company guarantee. However, questions have been raised about the robustness of the security achieved by the guarantee.

Norwegian Continental Shelf – a new dawn for EPC alliance contracts?
  • Norway
  • 09 October 2017

Following the recovery and stabilisation of oil prices, an increasing number of oil companies on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) are looking for new ways to advance developments by cooperating with contractors. Some companies are looking for a stronger commitment from their suppliers and have introduced a cooperation scheme whereby the parties share a greater portion of risk for profit or loss. However, a number of challenges may arise from such contractual structures with regard to NCS projects.

Court of appeal's judgment could have fundamental impact on Europe's bedrock gas supplier
  • Norway
  • 11 September 2017

The Borgarting Court of Appeal recently rendered its judgment in a case of major importance for the upstream Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) industry, natural gas buyers in Europe and the Norwegian government. If the judgment becomes final and binding, it will benefit the European gas supply. However, it may be a rude awakening for institutional investors in NCS infrastructure.


Healthcare & Life Sciences

Supreme Court opines on limitations of GPs' freedom of conscience
  • Norway
  • 19 December 2018

The Supreme Court recently deemed that a municipality's termination of its agreement with a general practitioner (GP) after she refused to insert an intrauterine device for a patient for reasons of conscience relating to her religion was invalid. The GP claimed that her termination was invalid because, among other things, it contravened Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (freedom of thought, conscience and religion).


Intellectual Property

Contributed by Zacco
David versus Goliath: local soft drink maker takes on Coca-Cola in trademark case
  • Norway
  • 24 December 2018

In anticipation of the court's decision in the recent trademark infringement case between The Coca-Cola Company and O Mathisen AS, this article looks at the development of the case, which has all of the ingredients to be a memorable trademark conflict. For example, it is a classic example of a David versus Goliath scenario – with a small local company fighting a large multinational. Further, it includes a famous trademark, SPRITE, and has been the subject of media attention.

JallaXXXXXX: Coca-Cola accuses local soft drink maker of infringing SPRITE mark
  • Norway
  • 17 December 2018

The Arabic word jalla, which means 'come on, hurry up', was introduced to the Norwegian language by soldiers who served with UN peacekeeping forces in the Middle East. In Norwegian, the word has come to mean 'gaudy' or 'outlandish', but it is also used to indicate that something is of low quality or below accepted or traditional standards. So how did this word become the subject of a trademark conflict between a local carbonated soft drink maker and international giant The Coca-Cola Company?

End of the line for Nordic trial exemption?
  • Norway
  • 27 August 2018

Under Norwegian patent law, trials necessary for the completion of an invention have been exempted from inclusion in the prior art even if they were performed in a manner that did not enable the inventor to restrict access to a limited group of people. Consequently, inventions that could have been observed by third parties during a trial prior to the filing of a patent application have been patented. However, a recent Oslo District Court decision may be the beginning of the end for the Nordic trial exemption.

Proposed new rule regarding reversed burden of proof
  • Norway
  • 15 January 2018

In 2017 the Ministry of Justice issued a consultation memorandum regarding various changes to the IP laws. Among the proposed changes was the new rule regarding reversal of the burden of proof if an allegedly infringed patent is for a process used to obtain a product. Although the ultimate fate of this proposal remains to be seen, it is likely that when enforcing such a patent in future, defendants will bear the burden of proof to show that the patented process is not being used.

KFIR four years on: is it fulfilling its obligations?
  • Norway
  • 18 September 2017

Appeals of Norwegian Patent Office (NIPO) decisions used to be handled by a separate NIPO appeals division. However, in 2013 the Board of Appeal for Industrial Property Rights (KFIR) replaced this division. The motivation for this change was to increase legal certainty through independent review and efficient, trustworthy and user-friendly prosecution of appeals. Now that the KFIR has been active for four years, it is timely to take a closer look at the extent to which these purposes are being fulfilled.