Legal Environment

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In this page: Business Contract | Intellectual Property | Legal Framework of Business | International Dispute Resolution


Business Contract

General Observation
Obligations of the vendor and quality control must be stated clearly.
Law Applicable to the Contract
Norway has signed the Vienna Convention on International Contracts.
Advisable Incoterms
Most used terms are FOB and CIF.
Language of Domestic Contract
Norwegian, English
Other Laws Which Can Be Used in Domestic Contracts
The laws and courts of America, England and Switzerland provide fair justice and are understandable in English, which is likely to be accepted by your supplier.

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Intellectual Property

National Organisations
The Industrial Property Office
Regional Organisations
Patent Protection: the European Patent Office
International Membership
Member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)
Signatory to the Paris Convention For the Protection of Intellectual Property
Membership to the TRIPS agreement - Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

National Regulation and International Agreements

Type of property and law Validity International Agreements Signed
Patents Act (Act No. 9 of December 15, 1967) (consolidated version of 2016)
20 years Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
Trademarks Act (Act No. 8 of March 26, 2010) (consolidated version of 2015)
10 years. A trademark can be renewed for another 10 years for an unlimited number of times. Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks
Designs Act (Act No. 15 of March 14, 2003, relating to Design Protection) (consolidated version of 2015)
5 years, renewable four times, for 5-year periods, for up to 25 years  
Copyright Act (Act No. 2 of May 12, 1961, relating to Copyright in Literary, Scientific and Artistic Works) (consolidated version of 2015)
70 years, but varies depending on the type of product Berne convention For the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms
Rome ConventionFor the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations
WIPO Copyright Treaty
WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty
Industrial Models
Act No. 25 of May 31, 2013, amending Legislation on the Protection of Industrial Property Rights, etc. (Extract) (2013)
5 years, renewable four times, for 5-year periods, for up to 25 years  

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Legal Framework of Business

Equity of Judgments

Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
Foreigners can expect an impartial trial from the country’s judicial system.
The Language of Justice
Norwegian and Sami. Citizens can use either bokmål or nynorsk.
Recourse to an Interpreter
Legal Similarities
Mixture of customary law, civil law system, and common law traditions. The legal system is generally based on written statutes, but with some influence of common law principles. Supreme Court renders advisory opinions to legislature when asked. Accepts compulsory International Court of Justice jurisdiction, but with reservations. Norway is a member of European Economic Area and is required to adapt EU legislation in most policy areas.

The Different Legal Codes

Foundation of the state, rights of individuals The Constitution
Criminal Law The Penal Code
Administration Public Administration Act
Taxation The Taxation Act
Environment Environmental Protection Act, Nature Diversity Act
Company law Limited Liability Companies Act, The Partnerships Act
Checking National Laws Online
Norwegian laws in English
Other Useful Resources
Ministry of Justice and the Police
Web sites of Norwegian courts
Country Guides
Jurist World Law

The Jurisdictions

The Supreme Court Nation's highest court of justice. Gives final verdicts.
The Courts of Appeal Court of second instance for appeal. Six appellate districts.
District courts 108 courts of first instance.
Special courts Labour Court, The Industrial Disputes Tribunal, The Land Consolidation Courts.
Conciliation Boards Located in each municipality. Mediates between disputing parties and is authorized to pronounce a verdict.

Court Officials

District Court judges
Civil cases are judged by one professional judge, who may be assisted by two lay judges. Criminal cases are judged by one professional judge and two lay judges or, in some cases, two professionals and three lay judges.
Courts of Appeal judges
A senior judge president and several appellate judges assisted by lay judges.
Supreme Court judges
Chief Justice and 18 other judges. Appointed by the King after nomination by the Ministry of Justice and the Police.

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International Dispute Resolution

Arbitration is recognized under Norwegian law as a legitimate method for settling disputes. The Norwegian Arbitration Act is based on the international standard.
Arbitration Law
Can be found here ( in Norwegian).
Conformity to International Commercial Arbitration Rules
Party to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
Appointment of Arbitrators
Unless the parties otherwise agree, the Arbitral Tribunal will consist of three arbitrators.
Arbitration Procedure
The parties are required to exchange a claim and reply. Supplementation of claims is possible in the later stages, unless the Tribunal decides otherwise. Normally all claims and points of dispute will be settled in the final award. The Arbitral Tribunal may decide to settle separate claims in separate awards. The parties are free to settle at any stage of the proceedings, and present such settlement for confirmation to the Tribunal. Awards should be in writing and signed by all members of the Tribunal. Ordinary courts cannot take a second look at the issues resolved.
Permanent Arbitration Bodies
Arbitration and Dispute Resolution Institute of the Oslo Chamber of Commerce (Sectors Covered: General)

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Latest Update: May 2024