Intellectual property (IP) licensing plays a major role in the technology and communications sector where products and solutions define brands and the company bottom line. At M&D we provide the legal support that underpins the development and lifecycle of IP to ensure that companies can maximize the use and profitability of their assets. This starts with an understanding of Intellectual property licensing.

What is Intellectual Property Licensing

Intellectual property licensing agreements occur between an IP rights owner (“licensor”) and a third party that is authorized to use the rights (“licensee”) for a specific amount of time for a
fee or royalty. These contracts stipulate that the licensor is always the owner of the IP and covers patent and design rights, trademarks and related knowledge.

The terms of the licensing occur through what is often a complex negotiation where the final agreement enables both parties to tap into expertise on both sides to further the market viability of the IP under license. This can manifest in greater and faster market penetration based on specific geographical territory as just one example. In many cases the licensor and 
licensee share risks and generated revenue potential through collaboration and investment that results in a competitive advantage to both parties.

Types of IP Licenses

While there are a number of intellectual property license types in a typical intellectual property agreement, there are three that are the most common:
  • An Exclusive License that prohibits the licensor from granting additional licenses on the invention and rights of the IP within the agreement to other third parties or to use the technology for its own product or services marketing ventures.
  • A Sole License is similar to an exclusive license in all respects except that it grants the licensor the right to also use the IP.
  • A Non-Exclusive License gives the licensee certain rights, but also gives the licensor the right to grant licenses of the IP to other third parties or to use them for their own business ends. It’s not uncommon for companies to combine elements of these three types of intellectual property agreements such as rights exclusivity in geographical regions.

Subjects of an IP Licensing Agreement

IP licensing is prevalent in every sector and may include the following:

  • Product and Services trademarks for branding
  • Technology goods and process patents
  • Registered product designs
  • Copyright for literature or artistic work
  • Confidential information that keeps IP secure

Providing total IP lifecycle protections can be a complex process that requires the support of a skilled IP law firm that understands how to navigate the regional as well as national and international licensing implications. M&D’s understanding of evolving IP filing protection legalities is bolstered by our corporate headquarters servicing businesses in Washington, D.C and Virginia.

M&D leverages its extensive experience working with startups to global enterprises in crafting
licensing agreements. This enables us to maximize the potential of your IP while providing protections nationally and internationally through any number of partners.