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Intellectual Property Licence Agreements

An Intellectual Property Licence Agreement allows an owner of intellectual property, to grant to another person or entity (referred to as the “licensee”) the right to use certain intellectual property, and sets out the rights associated with that use.

This is not to be confused with an Assignment of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement which is the complete and exclusive transfer of ownership of the intellectual property.

Types of intellectual property

Intellectual property is any original and valuable property created by someone’s creativity, thought, mind or intellect. There are various categories of intellectual property:-

  • Patents – rights relating to inventions, original processes, applications and methods.
  • Trademarks – rights relating to specific marks used to identify a product, service or person or entity. This can be by way of words, logos, phrases, etc
  • Designs – relate to the shape, configuration or pattern of a product which is unique, new and distinctive.
  • Copyright – rights to protect the original expression of ideas for example, literary works, lyrics, films, artwork, articles, computer programs, database compilations etc.

Types of licence

Intellectual property can be licenced to others to allow the intellectual property to be marketed effectively and commercially exploited. Therefore it is vital you have an effective written agreement in place so all people involved know their rights and responsibilities.

Types of licence include:-

  • An exclusive licence. This is the right to use the intellectual property to the exclusion of all others, including the owner; or
  • A non-exclusive licence.

Licence fee

The cost of the right to use the intellectual property may be, for example:-

  • an ongoing royalty or percentage of products sale price;
  • a one off payment;
  • a weekly/monthly/annual fee;
  • an amount based on profit; or
  • a transfer of shares in the company.
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