Intellectual Property Professionals
"An inventor is a man who asks 'Why?' of the universe and lets nothing
stand between the answer and his mind." John Galt, Atlas Shrugged
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A license is a written agreement that grants rights, usually in intellectual property. So, patents (including design patents), trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets may be licensed. Sometimes, the license is a stand-alone agreement, while at other times a license is incorporated in another agreement, such as a franchise agreement or merger, for example. One of the great things about a license is that it can define and divide rights almost any way you can imagine--in time, by geography, by market segment, by the type of product incorporating the license, and in a host of other ways.

However, licenses, because of their complexity, can be the playground of the wicked. Unscrupulous persons can use the complex language and interpretation rules of a license to cheat the naive of rights and/or money.

For example, in many states licenses come with an "implied warranty of fitness" -- a fancy way of stating that the thing your licensing will work (imagine that!). However, many licenses, particularly in the software industry, specifically exclude this warranty.

Not only do we know these tricks, we also know standard license rates and have designed license programs and licenses for major Universities, small businesses, corporations, and individual inventors.

War Story

One company visited our office after spending many hundreds of thousands of dollars with a major software vendor for a project promised to cost less than $100,000. The development agreement and license disclaimed all warranties, and had so many other disclaimers that the license could be summed up as "you agree to pay us for the hours billed, but we do not have to deliver a working product to you, ever." While such one-sided agreements may be busted (sometimes), let this half-a-million dollar lesson be at this person's expense: have an attorney review your license and other written agreements.

Disclaimer: this is a simplified and general discussion of license agreements and does not constitute legal advice. For advice concerning your specific situation, contact us or another attorney.

Written Agreements Flyer
Thrasher Associates | | Tel:214-502-5923 | Fax:214-291-5991

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