Licensing Attorney in Kansas City, Missouri
You’ve spent countless hours—even years—researching and innovating, and you’re now at a point where you want to see your efforts pay off. It’s important that you and your intellectual property are properly protected. Before becoming an attorney, I spent years as a research scientist and I know the vast amounts of time and resources that go into this type of work. You’ve come too far to see all your hard work be left vulnerable, and you’ll need a licensing agreement that’s tailored specifically to your needs and can support your plans for the future. I started the Law Office of Julie Scott LLC to help innovators just like you. If you’re in the Kansas City, Missouri area, including Columbia, Springfield, and Rolla, call me today to set up a consultation.
What is Licensing?
When you enter into a licensing agreement, you (the owner and licensor) are allowing another person or company (the licensee) to make use of your intellectual property (IP). This type of agreement allows scientists, inventors, and innovators to retain control over their IP knowing their interests are protected by the license while earning financial compensation. There are four main types of licenses you may wish to pursue depending on your line of work and how you’d like to see your particular invention used.
These agreements cover a range of services from internet technology to medical systems to computer software to chemical compositions. In some cases, you may accept a single lump sum payment for use of your technology and then the licensee is free to use it however they like—or you may receive a set amount each time your technology is used. In other cases, you may accept resources and support in lieu of or in addition to financial compensation. If your licensee has a vast network of resources in your particular field, you may sign a contract that gives you access to these resources which will, in turn, help you innovate even more.
Determining the Best License Option for You
It can sometimes be difficult to determine which licensing option is the best for you, and an experienced licensing attorney can help you understand your options.
Patent Licensing: If you own the patent to a scientific innovation, you can contract with a licensee to help your invention reach widespread distribution. Patent licensing can often give you the means of mass manufacturing that you may not have had access to before.
Copyright Licensing: Other types of work such as art, music, or movies are better suited for a copyright license. With this agreement, only the licensee who owns the copyright agreement can use your IP (often related to distribution) and the owner of the copyright would earn royalties or compensation whenever it's used.
Trade Secret Licensing: Trade secret agreements differ from other IP licenses because they aren’t registered with the federal government. Usually in a trade secret license, the licensee will have to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that protects the secrecy of your invention or other information.
Trademark Licensing: Trademarks are typically used for IP like logos, brands, and slogans. These are often licensed to commercial companies who will then use your IP to help sell their products.
Determine if You Want Your License Exclusive
After you’ve decided what type of license is right for you, you’ll need to decide if you want it to be exclusive. An exclusive license means you’ve only contracted with one licensee and you’ve both agreed not to enter into other agreements with this particular IP and to only use it as outlined in the contract. This type of licensing can be more expensive but can be preferable in certain cases. You may also choose to pursue non-exclusive licensing, which means you can contract your IP to multiple licensees. Another option is sole licensing, where as the licensor you’re still able to use your IP as you want, but you agree only to contract with one licensee.
The Duration of Your License
The last component of IP licensing is the duration of your license. For this, you can choose to have a perpetual license or a term license. A perpetual license means that the licensee only has to contract with a licensor once, and can then use the IP in perpetuity. In this type of agreement, the licensor usually accepts a large lump sum at the beginning and then hands over ownership to the licensee. This is seen most commonly in computer software and internet technology like apps.
A term license, on the other hand, allows the licensor to be paid either each time their IP is used, or to receive a lump sum for each predetermined amount of time (ex: quarterly, or yearly). Term licenses are more common and allow the licensor more flexibility and a regenerative source of income.
Licensing Attorney Serving Kansas City, Missouri
The questions and concerns surrounding licensing can feel very complex and overwhelming. It can be extremely helpful to retain a skilled attorney who can explain your options. At the Law Office of Julie Scott LLC, I bring to each and every case my experience as an inventor and scientist. This allows me to more fully understand my clients’ needs and how I can best support them. Contact me in Kansas City, Missouri to get started.