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Business Contracts - Licence Agreements

Keeping control of your intellectual property

Legislation in the UK allows the owner of intellectual property to carry out a number of activities in relation to it, one of the most important being the ability to exploit the intellectual property as they wish. Licences are a common tool used to turn intellectual property into a revenue stream for a business. It is often said that intellectual property can be one of a business’s most valuable assets, and through licensing that intellectual property to others, the business can realise some of that worth.

There are a number of different issues that need to be considered when thinking about the type of licence that you may need – but they need not cause you too much hassle, as we are on hand to advise you as to the best route you should take.

One of the most important decisions is whether the licence will be exclusive or non-exclusive. An exclusive licence means that you are lending your intellectual property, whether it is copyright, a trade mark or a patent, to one person or company only – you are granting them the right to use your intellectual property on an exclusive basis. A non-exclusive licence means that you are lending your intellectual property to a person or company, but are reserving the right to lend it to other third parties too.

An exclusive licence might best be used when you have intellectual property specifically for someone else to use, but you wish to maintain your ownership of it – the use of your company’s logo on your sole distributor’s website and advertising for example.

A non-exclusive licence, on the other hand, may best be used where you still want to be able to give permission for other people to use that intellectual property – the use of the software you have developed by your clients or customers.

Intellectual property licences can be used in many different circumstances in business – as long as you own the intellectual property, you are able to control what is done with it. Once you have decided as to the exclusivity of the licence, there are a few more things that you may wish to consider:

  • The length of the licence period
  • The amount of the licence fee and how it is to be paid
  • Licensee’s permissions
  • Warranties
  • Indemnities
  • Intellectual property rights
  • Termination

We have extensive experience in dealing with a wide variety of licences in many different industry sectors, including brand marketing and advertising, software development, website development, music and film, adult entertainment and gaming, print and online media, and general commercial practice.

We will be happy to draft or advise on any licence agreement to ensure that all aspects are covered, and to ensure that the intellectual property rights have been exploited in accordance with your requirements.

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