IP is an asset to your business and a key way of commercialising your IP is by licensing it. 

In Australia, IP owners are protected and can earn income through laws covering patents, copyright, designs and trade marks.

There are a number of commercial reasons and benefits to licensing out your IP to another party. ‘Licensing out’ is one way of accessing new markets.

It is important to carefully consider the scope of a licence and the extent to which the licence should benefit both the IP owner (i.e. the licensor) and the licensee.

“Licences should be customised to comply with, and be cognisant of, local laws and business practices, so it’s critical for any prospective licensor or licensee to have early and ready access to the right professional advice on the ground” says Stephanie Rowland, Partner in Mills Oakley Perths’ Corporate Advisory & IP/IT team.

Enforcing IP protection more broadly across Asia has been strengthened with the development of free trade agreements (FTAs). Australia has 10 free trade agreements in place, 7 of them with Asian economies.  According to Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, IP commitments are standard in developed economy FTAs. IP commitments also feature in agreements between Australia and China, the USA, Singapore, Japan, Korea, and Thailand.

A formal and effective written licence agreement is critical to ensure that your business obtains the rights required to meet your business’ commercial objectives as well as to protect your rights.