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Licensing

Sometimes a business seeks to maintain a differentiated market position by using intellectual property to exclude competitors.  Other times, businesses seek to earn revenue through licensing agreements.  Entities that specialize in research and development, such as universities and other research institutes, rely heavily on licensing to bring their discoveries to market.  Licenses are typically for particular technologies or patents, and limited to specific geographical markets.  License fees can be lump-sum, based on certain milestones, or a percentage.  Licenses should be carefully documented so that each party understands its rights and obligations. 

Licensing takes place against a background of alternatives.  One alternative is to not use the intellectual property at issue.  Another is to use it and hope that the IP holder will be unable to enforce its rights.  Sometimes licenses are only entered into after litigation has begun, and each side has tested the strength of the intellectual property and its importance to the product or service.  When contemplating licensing negotiations, it is important to keep in mind that litigation could result, and potential licensors should understand how the litigation could proceed.

Licensing can sometimes raise concerns under antitrust law—the law governing relationships between competitors, which seeks to maintain competitive markets and avoid collusion and unlawfully acquired monopoly power. 

An intellectual property attorney can help evaluate your licensing options, including what the alternatives to a negotiated resolution would be.  Intellectual property attorneys could also help evaluate whether there has been a violation of the antitrust laws in a company’s licensing behavior.  If you are seeking to license your intellectual property or believe that someone is wrongfully demanding that you license their intellectual property, please contact Jonathan Rotter.

Court Recognition

“And without question, the Court is of the opinion that the value of benefit that’s been conferred to the class is extremely sizable and that this Court is certainly aware that the skill and efficiency of plaintiff’s counsel is what attributed to this settlement, and they are learned securities counsel. The Court is mindful of that, and as a result they were able to sort of weed their way through the complex issues in this case, and also to bring this about — bring about a settlement rather in short order as these matters go. So the Court certainly attributes that to counsel’s skill and efficiency, as well as the ability to work with the adversaries in this matter.”

–Hon. Susan D. Wigention, U.S. District Judge, District of New Jersey

“Class Counsel has conducted the litigation and achieved the Settlement in good faith and with skill, perseverance and diligent advocacy”

— Hon. Donovan W. Frank, U.S. District Judge, District of Minnesota

“The court finds that the Settlement Fund… created by Class Counsel is an exceptional result… The settlement is significantly above the average securities class action settlement when measured as a percentage of losses recovered… The court finds that Class Counsel, particularly Co-Lead Counsel, exerted tremendous effort on behalf of the class in the prosecution of this action… The Court finds that Class Counsel skillfully prosecuted this action, particularly given that this case was unusually complex relative to most securities fraud class actions. ”

–Hon. Dickran M. Tevrizian (Ret.), U.S. District Court Judge, Central District of California

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