“Intellectual Property” constitutes one of the most valuable assets of a business. Once a company has secured legal protection for its “intangible assets”, it can exploit them economically, for example by way of strategic licensing, which may be key to economic success.
When starting up a new business or developing an existing business, the licensing of IP rights such as patents, trademarks or copyrights can be an effective tool to strengthen the company’s market position. Commercial agreements focusing on the exploitation of IP rights may include various forms of licensing, distribution, sponsorship, franchising, co-marketing, R&D, and technology transfer agreements. The relevant agreements should therefore be carefully tailored to the particular business model.
More IP licensing business is currently being conducted than ever before, with such transactions becoming increasingly multifaceted and the underlying technologies becoming ever more complex with the increase in global economic networking.
In this context, there needs to be particular focus on German and European antitrust law when drafting a license agreement. Where a provision of the license agreement breaches antitrust law, the specific provision or – in the worst-case scenario – the whole license agreement becomes null and void. In addition, the antitrust authorities may impose a significant fine. Therefore, an examination with respect to antitrust law is extremely important and highly complex.
BARDEHLE PAGENBERG’s attorneys have extensive experience in negotiating, reviewing and drafting such agreements, particularly with respect to the development and licensing of IP and related technology-based services.
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