Latest updates

Transfers of Norwegian petroleum licences: is government approval regime tightening?
Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig AS
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Norway
  • March 12 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.

EFTA Court confirms that travel time is working time
Homble Olsby Advokatfirma AS
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Norway
  • February 14 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.

Proposed new rule regarding reversed burden of proof
Zacco
  • Intellectual Property
  • Norway
  • January 15 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.

Management of foreign-owned ships on NIS
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Norway
  • January 03 2018

In some transactions, a non-Norwegian company may wish to register its ship with the Norwegian International Ship Register. This can be done only if the ship is managed by a shipping company that has its head office in Norway. This requirement has a bearing on the contractual structures and financing schemes that can be put in place and also raises issues concerning enforcement.

Parent company guarantee requirement for future decommissioning cost in corporate transfers on NCS
Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig AS
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Norway
  • December 18 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.

Government discussion document targets zero-hour contracts
Homble Olsby Advokatfirma AS
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Norway
  • December 13 2017

Zero-hour contracts are particularly controversial in Norway, which is generally known for its high level of employee protection. For example, in early 2017 a district court held that a formal arrangement under which a staffing agency's full-time employees had not received salary payments between assignments was illegal. Further, the government recently issued a discussion document outlining its proposal to amend the Working Environment Act, which is intended to target zero-hour contracts.

Norwegian Continental Shelf – a new dawn for EPC alliance contracts?
Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig AS
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Norway
  • October 09 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.

KFIR four years on: is it fulfilling its obligations?
Zacco
  • Intellectual Property
  • Norway
  • September 18 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.

Court of appeal's judgment could have fundamental impact on Europe's bedrock gas supplier
Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig AS
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Norway
  • September 11 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.

Supreme Court clarifies Labour Court's role
Homble Olsby Advokatfirma AS
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Norway
  • July 12 2017

The Labour Court rules on matters concerning the establishment, termination and interpretation of collective agreements, as well as on the individual consequences of a breach of a contractual obligation agreed in such agreements. A recent Supreme Court case questioned the Labour Court's jurisdiction to declare an employee's termination invalid, as the collective agreement did not explicitly mention the consequences of a breach of contractual obligations.

Landmark Supreme Court judgment on wreck removal
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Norway
  • June 21 2017

The Supreme Court recently clarified a number of unsettled issues that will have an impact on other wreck removal cases, including whether vessel owners can use their right to limit liability as a defence against a wreck removal order. Among other things, the decision has clarified the highly disputed interpretation of the relationship between owners' duty to take action and their right to limit liability.

Fighting for freedom to operate
Zacco
  • Intellectual Property
  • Norway
  • March 20 2017

One risk of doing business, particularly for innovative technology companies, is the possible existence of conflicting third-party rights. At the very least, a patent infringement lawsuit can create uncertainty with respect to a company's ability to perform, while the worst case scenario includes injunctions, damages and possible bankruptcy. While numerous options for handling a threat of this kind exist in Norway, going directly to the courts may be particularly advantageous.

Considered ratification of Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Norway
  • February 15 2017

A year and a half after the entry into force of the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, the Ministry of Transport has completed a consultation process on a proposal to ratify the convention and implement it into Norwegian law. The ministry has suggested that the convention be implemented on a dual basis, alongside existing legislation.

Non-operating partners' role in Norwegian Continental Shelf procurement
Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig AS
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Norway
  • February 06 2017

An inexperienced operator on the Norwegian Continental Shelf with a relatively small organisation may invoke a need for non-operators to direct particular attention to the operator's contract award procedure; while reduced capacity of non-operators may affect their ability to contribute to joint venture operations and to exercise the required control. Consequently, it is essential that non-operators have sufficient available resources to fulfil their commitments.

Arbitration clauses and third parties in bills of lading and other agreements
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Norway
  • February 01 2017

Since arbitration requires agreement between the parties, a third party is not normally bound by, or enti­tled to invoke, an arbitration clause. However, there are exceptions to the rule. It is recommended, when drafting arbitration clauses, to take into account not only the position of the contractual parties, but also the position of possi­ble third parties, since this may reduce or avoid the risk of difficult procedural questions that may arise if claims are later made by or against a third party.

Patents and information security: what's the connection?
Zacco
  • Intellectual Property
  • Norway
  • December 19 2016

Patents and information security have always been connected and, as such, a company cannot have a well-implemented IP rights strategy if it does not consider information security. By approaching information security as a tool to protect intellectual property, companies are better placed to implement the correct measures and contingency plans and secure and extract value from their intellectual property more efficiently.

E&P transaction market on Norwegian Continental Shelf
Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig AS
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Norway
  • November 21 2016

In the early 2000s the Norwegian authorities introduced several measures to stimulate exploration and production activities on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS). The number of applicants in the 2016 NCS licensing round in pre-defined (mature) areas dropped to 33 from 47 in 2014 and 43 in 2015. In light of this, it is useful to examine the existing NCS market and some of the fundamental drivers and trends looking ahead.

OnDemand Diversity in the workplace
Homble Olsby Advokatfirma AS
  • Norway
  • November 16 2016

Over the past 10 to 15 years, Norway has focused on strengthening protections against discrimination. In 2013 it adopted three new or revised acts on discrimination and equality relating to disability, ethnic background, religion and spirituality and sex and sexual orientation. Public employers, private employers with more than 50 employees and work organisations must work actively and systematically to ensure that they achieve the purpose of the acts.

Guide to the Patent Prosecution Highway
Zacco
  • Intellectual Property
  • Norway
  • September 26 2016

While fast-track prosecution is available only at the initiative and discretion of the Norwegian Industrial Property Office, a patent applicant can opt to avail of the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH). The available statistics suggest that filing a PPH request in Norway will likely result in a significantly higher chance of faster prosecution, a favourable first office action and a reduced number of office actions.

Employee or independent contractor?
Homble Olsby Advokatfirma AS
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Norway
  • September 21 2016

The High Court recently confirmed the general criteria that must be considered when evaluating the distinction between an employee and an independent contractor. This distinction is subject to a concrete overall evaluation of the facts in the individual case, including whether the contract imposes a personal work commitment, where the work is conducted and who bears responsibility for the result.