What is a license? In a nutshell, it is a promise not to sue. For example, the fictitious 007 British spy had a “license to kill.” In essence, this was a promise from the British government not to prosecute 007 for the many murders he committed provided he continue to save civilization from world domination by various evil-doers.
Intellectual property licensing arises in various circumstances. A license may be granted to a company seeking to manufacture a novel product developed by an inventor. Two companies settling a software copyright infringement litigation may agree upon a software license so there is no disruption in the defendant’s product availability. A trademark license may be granted to permit another company to use a mark provided the underlying product is of a certain quality and consistency.