Edited by Jacques de Werra
Chapter 6: International patent licensing
This chapter considers some of the differences in national and international laws affecting patent licensing transactions and makes proposals for the harmonization2 of such laws. The content of this chapter reflects the author’s experience as a practising lawyer, qualified in England, who advises on international intellectual property (IP) transactions, and as the general editor of a loose-leaf work3 on agreements (including patent licensing agreements) in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors that includes commentary from lawyers in seven jurisdictions4 in Europe and North America. Clearly, patent law is central to any discussion of patent licensing. However, this is by no means the only area of law that must be considered when examining patent licensing agreements. Other, potentially relevant areas of law, some of which are covered in other chapters of this book, include the following:General property law. The law governing ownership of, and rights in, property: IP law is a branch of general property law and in some areas it is necessary to look to principles from general property law when considering the rights of parties to an IP transaction. In other areas, general property law principles are not relevant, particularly where IP laws provide a different regime. For example, English patent law includes certain provisions governing the rights of co-owners of a patent.5 These provisions are best understood in conjunction with general property law principles as to the rights of co-owners (as distinct from joint owners) of property.
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