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exploitation of patents

Patent exploitation includes the sale and licensing of patents. Licensing with the design of a license agreement in particular contains several pitfalls and special features.

license agreement

License agreement scheme

license agreement


The license agreement is a contract of its own kind that doesn't really fit into any conventional drawer. Depending on its design, it contains elements of the purchase, rental or lease agreement. License agreements can be made to exploit an invention, a manufacturer can enter into a license agreement to sell his products, or license agreements can also be made to avoid litigation by the potential infringer agreeing to pay licenses. Basically, there are no legal regulations for license agreements. In this respect, the contractual agreements must be adapted to the requirements of the individual case, whereby the limits set by antitrust law must be observed. In the next chapter, a scheme for patent license agreements is presented, which can at best serve as a point of reference for the drafting of a license agreement.

License agreement scheme



  • Motives for entering into the contract and the purposes pursued by the parties


  • What is licensed, intellectual property rights or know-how, or is the license directed to a specific embodiment or a combination of both.

  • Exclusive or Non-Exclusive License.

  • Material scope of the license, ie all or individual types of use, use for specific purposes.

  • Territorial scope of the license, ie what is the contract territory.

  • Right to Sublicense?

  • Duration of the contract, but not beyond the existence of the contractual protection rights.

Licensor Obligations

  • Who has to maintain the intellectual property rights and who bears the costs for this?

  • Who defends the contractual property rights and receives any licenses that may be requested?

  • Liability of the licensor for technical feasibility and usability.

  • Liability for legal defects.

Licensee Obligations

  • Payment of royalties, how much, what is the reference basis, minimum license or piece license.

  • Reduction of license fees, e.g. in the event of the loss or partial destruction of the property right.

  • Is there an obligation to use the licensee?

  • Confidentiality obligation for know-how.

  • Accounting obligation with auditor reservation.

Common Obligations

  • Mutual exchange of experiences

  • Licensing of improvement and application inventions

  • Beginning and termination of the license agreement

  • Come into effect

  • Reasons for termination, possibly differentiated for licensor and licensee

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