Intellectual Property Law
Share, Profit, and Protect
Licensing Agreements allow you to share and profit from your intellectual property - your creative works such as pictures, designs, or writing - while properly protecting your rights in such property and information.
From a different perspective, licensing agreements are how you make money off of your ideas, at least the ones you have property rights to. The Licensor must have property rights (in the form of a patent, copyright, or trademark for example) over the product in order to enter into a licensing agreement.
A licensing agreement is a contract formed between two parties, the Licensor who owns the intellectual property that the licensing agreement is written for and the Licensee who is the user of the intellectual property in question. Generally, the agreement mandates how the user will compensate the owner for the use of their product. Establishing clear conditions is essential before finalizing and endorsing the licensing agreement. The following provisions should certainly be addressed:
The Licensor is normally compensated monetarily by the Licensee for their product. The Licensor can be paid through a flat rate, through royalties (usually 6-10% of the sales on the product), or any combination that appeals to both parties. The License should make sure the method and rate of payment is clear.
How long will the Licensee have use of/rights to the product? Is this a permanent transaction or a limited time offer?
Scope of Use
Does the Licensee have exclusive rights to the product? Or can the Licensor market his product to other buyers as well? Will the Licensee be subject to any restrictions on use? Does the agreement cover only a certain geographical location, or is it international? Will the Licensor be allowed to sublicense the product? In addition to these three major areas of concern, licensing agreements often include sections pertaining to indemnification and confidentiality as well. An experienced attorney will tailor the contract to fit your needs and offer maximum benefit and protection.
Obviously, a licensing agreement can be a rewarding venture undertaken by two parties which both profit happily from the contract. On the other hand, a licensing agreement can also lead to disillusionment, mistrust, and litigation. Before you enter into any licensing agreement, talk to a competent, knowledgeable attorney who can help you tailor an agreement to secure and maximize the value of your intangible property.
Licensing Litigation and Breach of Licensing Agreement
Copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets are valuable assets that are essential to the financial vitality and well being of a business. If you are an individual, business entity, or company that has experienced a breach of contract in regard to a licensing agreement, you should consider initiating legal action against the infringing party in a timely manner. Our attorneys have experience representing artists, musicians, photographers, authors, and other creative professionals in various licensing matters and licensing litigation. Please see our Case Summary for examples of our work. Most recently, we secured a $1.6 million dollar judgment in a copyright infringement case on behalf of a client. Licensing litigation can help recover damages and payments that are due to you. Protecting your intellectual property from infringement and improper use through litigation is also a proactive step to ensure that others do not follow suit and that you retain full control of your intellectual property. Think of it as a warning to others that you are serious.