Licensing Intellectual Property Rights

Forbes Solicitors' intellectual property solicitors provide advice on the licensing of intellectual property rights, including patents, trademarks, and copyrights.

More about Licensing Intellectual Property Rights

Our vast experienced in licensing intellectual property rights can help you to negotiate and draft licensing agreements that protect your interests while also providing you with the flexibility you need to develop your business. We work with a range of clients, from individual creators to multinational corporations, to ensure that their intellectual property is licensed and used in a way that maximises its value.

What is Licensing Intellectual Property Rights

What is Licensing Intellectual Property Rights

Licensing intellectual property rights is the process of granting the legal right to another party to use a creator's intellectual property, such as a trade mark, patent, or copyright, in exchange for a fee or royalty. It grants them permission to do something that would be an infringement of the rights without the licence.

Intellectual property rights can be licenced, and this is a common way to exploit the goodwill and reputation (or potential for a goodwill and reputation to be developed) in your creations. By protecting your creation (which could, for example, be a creative design or invention), you can grant licensees the right to manufacture your protected product for their own sales, in return for royalties. Choosing to grant such a licence will have the benefit of allowing your product to reach a bigger market, which can improve your business reputation associated with your product/services and also provide you with further income.

A licence is essentially a permission to do something that, without the licence, would be an infringement of intellectual property. The person granting the licence is usually called the licensor, and the person receiving the licence is usually called the licensee. There could also be more than one licensor or licensee named in the agreement. The terms and conditions on which the intellectual property is licenced are varied and both parties usually agree these terms and conditions via negotiation. Obviously if you own the intellectual property that you are licencing, you will have a higher level of bargaining power and will be able to obtain favourable terms within the agreement.

Intellectual property licences generally operate in one of the following ways:

Exclusive Licence: Only the licensee can use the licensed rights. The licensor cannot use the licensed rights or grant any further licences within the scope of the original grant. This is the best form of licence for a licensee, as only it will be able to exploit the licensed rights. Non-Exclusive Licence: The licensor can use the licensed rights and can grant any number of non-exclusive licences. This is the weakest form of licence for a licensee, as the licensor can exploit the licensed rights and also appoint third parties to do so (possibly even competitors of the first licensee). Sole Licence: Only the licensor and sole licensee can use the licenced rights. The licensor cannot grant any further licences within the scope of the original grant. This is commonly an acceptable middle ground, as under this approach only the licensor and licensee can exploit the licensed rights.

Why choose our licencing intellectual property rights solicitors?

Why choose our licencing intellectual property rights solicitors?

Forbes Solicitors licensing intellectual property rights lawyers have extensive experience in advising clients on all aspects of IP licensing, including drafting and negotiating licensing agreements, conducting due diligence, and resolving disputes. We provide practical and commercially-focused advice tailored to our clients' specific needs and objectives. Our team is dedicated to delivering exceptional client service and achieving the best possible outcomes for our clients.

Who do our licencing intellectual property rights solicitors help?

Our licensing intellectual property rights solicitors help individuals and businesses who need assistance with protecting, managing, and monetising their intellectual property assets, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.How can our licencing intellectual property rights lawyers help?Forbes Solicitors licensing intellectual property rights lawyers can help you protect your intellectual property by drafting and negotiating licensing agreements, conducting due diligence on potential licensees, and enforcing your rights through litigation or alternative dispute resolution. We can also advise you on strategies for maximising the value of your intellectual property portfolio and minimising the risk of infringement. Our team has extensive experience working with clients in a variety of industries, including technology, entertainment, and consumer products.

Our team at Forbes Solicitors possesses extensive expertise in aiding clients and providing legal solutions for cases involving Licensing Intellectual Property Rights. Contact us today to converse with our proficient team.

Licensing Intellectual Property Rights FAQs

Can you use someone else’s intellectual property?

You can use someone else's intellectual property if they transfer the intellectual property to you by way of selling or assigning the intellectual property to you, or if they give you permission via a licence.

If you proceed to use someone else's intellectual property without permission, you will likely be infringing on that person's intellectual property rights and this could lead to intellectual property offences.

How do I know whether I should take acquire a licence?

If you are thinking about taking or granting a licence of any intellectual property, the first step would be to assess the needs and objectives of your own business and how, if you were to gain a licence, would this help meet your needs and objectives. You also need to take into account that should you want to use someone else's intellectual property, you require a licence to ensure you do not infringe the owner's rights. Furthermore, the Trade Marks Act 1994 states that in order to be valid, a trade mark licence must be signed and in writing.

Often enough, taking a licence will bring a number of advantages to your business or it may even be the corner stone of your business, but they are not always appropriate. This may be because:

  • You have your own ability to commercialise your own intellectual property;

  • The value of the intellectual property you wish to licence may be diminished;

  • The royalties are too high and may restrict growth;

  • Intellectual property you wish to licence may be too weak;

  • or The intellectual property to be licenced may not be valid.

How do I prepare for negotiations when it comes to licencing?

You need to consider how the license is going to earn a return for you. You need to be aware and have an understanding of the market for the intellectual property before you proceed to negotiate. If you are the licensor you need to also think about what you want in return for the licence, is it simply monetary or is it some other commercial benefit? Our intellectual property solicitors will be able to assist you with this and will be able to carry out the due diligence that is involved.

What should I consider about the terms of a licence?

There are a number of things to consider when it comes to the terms of a licence and not all of them may be relevant, but the below list is some of the key considerations:

  • Can the licensee grant permission to others to use the intellectual property?

  • Are there any terms that must be carried through to any sub-licence?

  • Is the licensee restricted to using the intellectual property for particular uses?

  • Is the licence restricted to one or more specified field or use?

  • Is the licence restricted in regard to territories?

  • Can the licence be assigned to someone else?

  • Can the licensee have others manufacture and sell products?

  • Can the licensee import products protected by the licenced intellectual property?

  • Can the licensee make improvements to an invention? Is licencing back any translation or improvements to be agreed?

  • Which party is responsible for protecting the intellectual property and what happens if the parties become aware of third-party unauthorised use?

  • Will any warranties or indemnities be provided regarding the validity of the intellectual property?

  • The more specific you are with the other party the better, and once you have been specific about the permitted uses of the intellectual property the licensor can reserve all other rights to itself.

  • Our intellectual property solicitors will fully discuss the terms of any proposed intellectual property licence with you, following which we can draft the required licence in order to ensure that your requirements are met.

How long does a licence last?

The length of a licence varies depending on the type of licence and the issuing authority. Some licences, such as driving licences, need to be renewed every few years, while others, such as business licences, may be valid for several years. It is important to check the specific terms and conditions of each licence to determine its duration.

What is a sub-licence?

A sub-licence is a licence granted by a licencee to a third party, allowing them to use the licenced rights or property. It is a legal agreement that allows the sub-licencee to use the licenced property or rights, but only under the terms and conditions set out in the original licence agreement between the licensor and licencee. sub-licensing is governed by the terms of the original licence agreement and the relevant laws and regulations.

What are the consequences of infringing on someone else's intellectual property rights?

Infringing on someone else's intellectual property rights can result in legal action, including injunctions, damages, and account of profits. The infringer may also be required to pay legal costs and may face criminal charges in some cases. The consequences can be severe, including fines and imprisonment, and can have a significant impact on the infringer's reputation and future business prospects.

How do I enforce my intellectual property rights?

To enforce your intellectual property rights you can take legal action against anyone who infringes on your rights. This can include sending a cease and desist letter, filing a lawsuit, or seeking an injunction. It is important to gather evidence of the infringement and consult with a lawyer who specialises in intellectual property law to determine the best course of action.

What are the risks of licensing my intellectual property?

The risks of licensing intellectual property include the possibility of infringement by the licencee, loss of control over the use of the IP, and potential disputes over royalties or breach of contract. There is also a risk of the licencee becoming a competitor and using the licenced IP to gain an advantage. It is important to have a well-drafted licensing agreement in place to mitigate these risks. Under UK law, licensing agreements must comply with competition law and may be subject to scrutiny by regulatory bodies.

What are the benefits of licensing my intellectual property?

Licensing your intellectual property can provide a source of revenue through royalties, while allowing you to retain ownership and control over your IP. It can also help to expand your business by allowing others to use your IP in new markets or industries. Additionally, licensing can provide legal protection for your IP and can help to establish your brand in the marketplace. licensing agreements are governed by contract law and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of the parties involved.

How do I license my intellectual property?

To licence your intellectual property you need to create a licensing agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of use. This agreement should include details such as the duration of the licence, the scope of the licence, and any restrictions on use. You should also consider registering your intellectual property with the appropriate authorities to protect your rights. It is recommended to seek legal advice to ensure your licensing agreement is legally binding and enforceable.

How can I protect my intellectual property?

You can protect your intellectual property by registering it with the appropriate government agency, such as the UK Intellectual Property Office. This includes patents, trademarks, and copyrights. You can also use non-disclosure agreements and contracts to protect confidential information and trade secrets. It is important to monitor and enforce your intellectual property rights and take legal action against any infringement.

What are the different types of intellectual property?

The different types of intellectual property are patents, trademarks, designs, copyright, and trade secrets. Patents protect inventions, trademarks protect brands and logos, designs protect the appearance of products, copyright protects creative works, and trade secrets protect confidential information.

What is the difference between licence and IP?

A licence is a legal agreement that allows someone to use a particular product or service, while IP (intellectual property) refers to the legal rights that protect creative works, such as patents, trademarks, and copyrights. IP is protected by law and can be licenced to others for use, but a licence itself is not considered intellectual property.

Our dedicated Intellectual Property team

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Partner and Head of Department, Commercial

John Pickervance

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Senior Associate, Commercial

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Associate, Commercial

Katie Lee

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