Design, Bargaining, and the Law
Chapter 7: Intellectual property and incentive bargaining
JV partners usually contribute some form of intellectual property (IP) to their joint ventures. The allocation of IP rights to the joint venture and among the partners and definition of the terms under which the IP may be exploited are the legal means of delineating the scope of the partners’ and the joint venture’s respective businesses. These issues are important matters that influence sharing of control, sharing of total return, and threat of exit. The term “intellectual property” means inventions, devices, new varieties of plants, designs, works and other property that is produced through creative activities by human beings (including discovered or solved laws of nature or natural phenomena that are industrially applicable), trademarks, trade names, other marks that are used to indicate goods or services in business activities, and trade secrets and other technical or business information useful in business activities. IP rights include patent rights, utility model rights, plant breeder’s rights, design rights, copyrights, trademark rights, other IP-related rights that are stipulated by laws and regulations, and rights pertaining to an interest protected by law. The legal protections that result from conferral of IP rights convert technical or reputational information into assets. In essence, IP rights grant the right to prevent third parties from unauthorized use of human intellectual works such as inventions, or devices and intangiblessuch as trademarks, thereby conferring economic benefit through artificially created scarcity.
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