Latest updates

Upstream parent company guarantee challenged in court for first time
Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig AS
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Norway
  • 15 July 2019

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.

Recent labour law amendments
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Norway
  • 10 July 2019

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.

Supreme Court rules on threshold for amendment terminations
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Norway
  • 19 June 2019

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.

Norway prepares for ratification of Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Norway
  • 19 June 2019

Parliament recently decided that Norway will ratify the Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention and that the convention will be given effect not only in Norway's exclusive economic zone, but also in its territorial waters. Parliament also adopted legislation to implement the convention into Norwegian law once ratified. The legislation will introduce a dual system where the national rules on wreck removal will continue to be in effect and the convention rules will be introduced as a parallel set of rules.

Proposal to strengthen position of whistleblowers
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Norway
  • 08 May 2019

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'.

Autonomous ships in unchartered waters
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Norway
  • 17 April 2019

Unmanned ships are on the horizon and the Norwegian maritime sector is uniquely positioned to take a leading role internationally in the development and commercialisation of this technology. Autonomous shipping may be Norway's maritime equivalent of Project Apollo, but is the legal framework keeping pace?

The saga is over: Coca-Cola proves unreasonable exploitation of well-known SPRITE mark
Zacco
  • Intellectual Property
  • Norway
  • 11 March 2019

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.

Can several companies within a group employ an employee?
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Norway
  • 06 March 2019

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.

Coverage level under deposit guarantee scheme reduced for overseas depositors
Advokatfirmaet Grette AS
  • Banking
  • 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.

New version of Nordic Marine Insurance Plan prepares for Brexit – bolstering Nordic arbitration
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Norway
  • 06 February 2019

The 2019 version of the Nordic Marine Insurance Plan 2013 recently entered into force. Among other things, the revisions introduce an arbitration clause as an option for insurances with Nordic claims leaders. Making arbitration the default position when there is a non-Nordic claims leader aims to align the plan with market practice. However, the change has also been brought about by the looming consequences of Brexit.

Discrimination based on religious grounds: employee's refusal to shake hands with women
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Benefits
  • 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 clarifies distribution of interest component in global limitation fund
Wikborg Rein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Norway
  • 09 January 2019

In a recent judgment in the Full City limitation fund proceedings, the Supreme Court clarified how a global limitation fund established pursuant to the Norwegian Maritime Code should be distributed. The court held that the interest component in the limitation fund should be distributed only on the claims for interest and not on the other claims filed in the fund because vessel owners' limitation of liability should remain the same regardless of whether a limitation fund is established.

David versus Goliath: local soft drink maker takes on Coca-Cola in trademark case
Zacco
  • Intellectual Property
  • 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.

Supreme Court opines on limitations of GPs' freedom of conscience
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • 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).

JallaXXXXXX: Coca-Cola accuses local soft drink maker of infringing SPRITE mark
Zacco
  • Intellectual Property
  • 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?

Supreme Court rules on whether employees can choose employer following transfer of undertakings
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Benefits
  • 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.

FSAN publishes draft regulation on prudent consumer lending practices
Advokatfirmaet Grette AS
  • Banking
  • 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
Advokatfirmaet Grette AS
  • Banking
  • 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.

End of the line for Nordic trial exemption?
Zacco
  • Intellectual Property
  • 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.

Employer warnings may be challenged in court
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Benefits
  • 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.