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Licensing Agreements

Intellectual property (IP) is a legal term that refers to creations of the mind. Examples of intellectual property include music, literature, and other artistic works; discoveries and inventions; and words, phrases, symbols, and designs. Under intellectual property laws, owners of intellectual property are granted certain exclusive rights. Some common types of intellectual property rights (IPR) are copyright, patents, and industrial design rights; and the rights that protect trademarks, trade dress, and in some jurisdictions trade secrets.  Categories include art, literary works, music, inventions, designs, processes and trademarks.

The Callan Law Firm, P.C. assists clients in copyright, trademark and trade secret protection.  In addition, we assist clients with negotiation and preparation of licensing agreements for various forms of IP, including patents.  To speak with an attorney, contact our Firm now.  Not yet ready to speak to an attorney?  To learn more about licensing agreements, read on.

A licensor may grant a license under intellectual property laws to authorize a use (such as copying software or using a (patented) invention) to a licensee, sparing the licensee from a claim of infringement brought by the licensor.  A license under intellectual property commonly has several components beyond the grant itself, including a term, territory, renewal provisions, and other limitations deemed vital to the licensor.

A shorthand definition of license is “a promise by the licensor not to sue the licensee.” That means without a license any use or exploitation of intellectual property by a third party would amount to copying or infringement. Such copying would be improper and could, by using the legal system, be stopped if the intellectual property owner wanted to do so.

It is undeniable that intellectual property licensing plays a major role in today’s business and economy. Business practices such as franchising, technology transfer, publication and character merchandising entirely depend on the licensing of intellectual property. Licensing has been recognised as an independent branch of law. It is born out of the interplay of the doctrine of contract and the principles of intellectual property.

Mass distributed software is used by individuals on personal computers under license from the developer of that software. Such license is typically included in a more extensive end-user license agreement (EULA) entered into upon the installation of that software on a computer. Typically, a license is associated with a unique code, that when approved grants the end user access to the software in question.  Under a typical end-user license agreement, the user may install the software on a limited number of computers.

A licensor may grant permission to a licensee to distribute products under a trademark. With such a license, the licensee may use the trademark without fear of a claim of trademark infringement by the licensor. The assignment of a license often depends on specific contractual terms. The most common terms are, that a license is only applicable for a particular geographic region, just for a certain period of time or merely for a stage in the value chain. Moreover there are different types of fees within the trademark and brand licensing. The first form demands a fee independent of sales and profits, the second type of license fee is dependent on the productivity of the licensee.

To speak with an attorney about your licensing agreement, contact us now by clicking here.