Intellectual property rights can be used by assigning (selling) or licensing them to others. Patents, registered designs, trademarks, copyright, trade secrets and know-how are examples of rights which can be assigned or licensed.

A licence is a means whereby a holder of rights in intellectual property, the licensor, can obtain remuneration by allowing another person, the licensee, to use those rights. Ownership in the rights is retained by the licensor, as opposed to an assignment of rights where the ownership in the rights actually passes from one person to another. The document granting licence rights is usually referred to as a licence agreement. When concluding a licence agreement in terms of which royalties are paid to a foreign licensor, or when extending a licence to a foreign licensee, it is important to remember that approval of the Exchange Control Authorities must be obtained before the agreement is signed.

Great care should be taken in drafting licence agreements and professional assistance from a patent attorney or other expert in the field should first be obtained. Our team has wide experience in the drafting of licence agreements, IP related contracts and the provision of advice relating to technology transfer and we urge you to contact us with any specific queries you may have.