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Intellectual Property Rights in Estonia


The most important document for intellectual property rights (IPR) in Estonia is the Copyright Act. The legal protection of patentable inventions is regulated by the Patents Act. All universities have their own detailed IPR principles.



The author has copyright in the work as of the creation of the work. An author also has copyright in the results of the intermediate stages of creating a work (drafts, sketches, plans, figures, chapters, preparatory design material, etc.). The original title of a work is subject to protection on an equal basis with the work itself.

Copyright is constituted by moral rights and economic rights. The moral rights of an author are inseparable from the author’s person and are non-transferable. The economic rights of an author are transferable as single rights or a set of rights for a charge, or free of charge.

The author of a work created under an employment contract or in the public service in the execution of his or her direct duties has moral rights in the work. The economic rights of the author are transferred to the employer unless otherwise prescribed by the contract.

A work purchased lawfully may be reproduced for private use without the authorisation of its author and without payment of remuneration.

The public performance of works in the direct teaching process without the authorisation of the author and without payment of remuneration is permitted if the name of the author of the work is duly referred to.



Inventions are legally protected by patents. An invention is patentable if it is new, involves an inventive step and is susceptible to industrial application. A utility model, like an invention protected by a patent, must be new; but, compared to the latter, it has lower inventive step requirements. The author of the invention is entitled to apply for a patent or a utility model.

In Estonian universities there is a general principle that the economic rights to industrial inventions created in the execution of duties are transferred to the employer. In the case of inventions and utility models, the economic rights are transferred to the employer on the basis of a contract. Such an agreement maybe included in the employment contract or concluded with a separate contract. Applications for patents and utility models should be presented to the Estonian Patent Office.

The IPR regulations of universities are available on their web pages.


See also:

Riigi Teataja - Copyright Act of Republic of Estonia

Riigi Teataja - Patents Act of Republic of Estonia

The Estonian Patent Office

European IPR Helpdesk