Licensing — exclusive/non-exclusive/sole

By Talitha Shkopiak

When granting or receiving a licence under intellectual property rights, the parties need to consider at the earliest stage the degree of exclusivity that will be granted. An exclusive licence means that no person or company other than the named licensee, can exploit the relevant intellectual property rights. Importantly, the licensor is also excluded from exploiting the intellectual property rights. If the licensor wishes to continue to conduct any activity covered by the intellectual property (for example, a university licensor may wish to continue its research) or if the licensor has previously granted any rights in relation to the intellectual property, the exclusive licence will need to expressly state that it is exclusive subject to those carve-outs.

A non-exclusive licence grants to the licensee the right to use the intellectual property, but means that the licensor remains free to exploit the same intellectual property and to allow any number of other licensees to also exploit the same intellectual property…

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