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.
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.
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.
Norway's labour legislation has undergone a number of amendments in recent months. For example, Parliament recently adopted a proposal to further strengthen the position of whistleblowers and amendments enhancing the rights of seafarers are set to enter into force in August 2019. In addition, in order to lower the threshold for processing sexual harassment disputes, the Anti-discrimination Tribunal has been authorised to enforce the prohibition on sexual harassment in the workplace.
The Supreme Court recently ruled in a case concerning the validity of an amendment termination. In its decision, the court commented on the difference between the threshold for amendment terminations and that for ordinary complete terminations of employment. Although the matter at hand was regulated by the Ship Employee Act, the Supreme Court's judgment is relevant for amendment terminations under the Working Environment Act.
Parliament is processing a proposal for amendments to employment legislation concerning whistleblowers to further strengthen their position. The amendments are expected to be effective from 1 July 2019 or 1 January 2020. The main proposed amendments include an extension of the scope of persons subject to the whistleblowing provisions and clarification of the terms 'censurable conditions' and 'retaliation'.
In a recent case, a number of Norwegian Airlines pilots and cabin crew claimed that three of the companies in the Norwegian Group constituted their employer. However, the Supreme Court concluded that only one of the companies constituted their employer. This ruling clarifies the factors which are relevant in assessing whether the engagement of personnel is considered an acquisition of services or a hiring of personnel.
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.
For the first time, the Norwegian courts have ruled in a case regarding the scope of the parent company guarantee (PCG) for licensees on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The Borgarting Court of Appeal recently overturned a district court judgment and largely accepted the Norwegian government's interpretation of the PCG's scope of applicability. Although the ruling, which is likely to be appealed, provides some clarity, the question of whether tax claims are covered was not resolved.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
The Oslo City Court recently ruled in the trademark dispute between The Coca-Cola Company and Norwegian soft drink manufacturer O Mathisen AS (OM). The two companies had became embroiled in a trademark conflict after OM introduced a soft drink named Jallasprite. Although the court found in Coca-Cola's favour, it had some doubts as to whether the damage to Coca-Cola was significant enough to warrant a temporary injunction.
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.
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?
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.
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.