Just as a plumber can place a construction lien on a house when they are not fully paid for their labour, Nortel’s current and past employees should have the right to place a lien on the intellectual property they created but are not being fully paid for via pension and severance obligations.
At the time of employment, Nortel created a contractual obligation to pay it’s employees salary and pension in return for transfer of ownership of all intellectual property, including patents, created by its employees.
Nortel, in bankruptcy, has breached that contract and Nortel’s past and current employees should be entitled to collectively place an equitable lien on the patent portfolio to assure payment.
If our current federal and provincial governments were not asleep at the switch concerning Nortel’s demise, they would be enshrining this protective right for white collar workers into statute in the same way that the Construction Lien Act protects blue collar workers.
Instead our elected representatives have their heads stuck in dark places while US and European jurisdictions pick apart all of Nortel’s assets to protect their native workers.