Intellectual property protection is essential for fostering innovation and economic growth. Patents, for example, provide inventors exclusive rights to their ideas, incentivizing them to reveal and commercialise them. Licensing agreements are one option for innovators to commercialise their inventions. This article delves into the notion of patent licensing and the various kinds of patent licensing that exist in India.

Patent Licensing Explained

A patent licence agreement is a contract that is made between the owner of a patent, who is known as the licensor, and another party, who is known as the licensee. This agreement grants the licensee permission to use the patented innovation for a certain amount of time and with specific limitations. This arrangement allows the licensor to commercialise their invention while also allowing the licensee to benefit from the patented technology without having to develop it themselves.

Benefits of Patent Licensing

Monetization: By providing others the right to use their patented invention in exchange for licensing fees or royalties, inventors can create funds.

Market Expansion: Licensing allows the licensee to access and enter new markets by utilising patented technology without having to engage in R&D from the ground up.

Licensing can lessen the risk associated with generating new technologies for licensees by utilising established and proven patented inventions.

Collaboration and Innovation: Licensing agreements can promote collaboration between patent holders and licensees, resulting in joint research, development, and the discovery of new discoveries.

Technology Transfer: Licensing promotes economic growth and industrial development by facilitating the transfer of knowledge and technology from the licensor to the licensee.

patent lincing

Types of Patent Licensing in India

Exclusive License:  A holder of an exclusive licence is granted the sole right to use the patented invention within the scope of the usage that was agreed upon in the licence agreement. The licensor is prohibited from granting licences to anybody else, including themselves. When a licensee intends to invest a large amount of money in the commercialization of an innovation, it is normal practice to negotiate an exclusive licence.

Non- exclusive License:  A non-exclusive licence means that the licensor retains the right to grant licences to parties other than the licensee. The most frequent sort of licensing is a non-exclusive licence. This type of licence allows several licensees to utilise the patented technology at the same time. When an innovation has applications in a number of different industries and the licensor wants to maximise the financial potential of the invention, non-exclusive licences might be useful.

Sole Licence:  A sole licence provides the licensee with the exclusive right to use the patented invention, while the licensor retains the right to use the technology themselves. The licensor is not permitted to grant a licence for the technology to any other entity. A sole licence should be utilised when the licensor wishes to retain a limited right to exploit the innovation for its own purposes.

Compulsory License:  The Indian Patents Act contains provisions mandating the issuance of licences in certain circumstances. Under the provisions of a compulsory licence, a third party (the licensee) is granted the right to use a patented innovation without the permission of the patent holder (the licensor). When the patent bearer fails to commercialise the invention in India or when it is in the public interest, such as during national emergencies, public health crises, or anti competitive practises, compulsory licences are granted.

Voluntary License:  A voluntary licence is an agreement between a patent holder (the licensor) and a third party (the licensee) in which the licensor willingly grants rights to the licensee to use, produce, sell, or distribute the patented invention. In contrast to forced licences, voluntarily granted licences are subject to negotiation and mutually accepted by both parties. It is possible that the transfer of technology, the promotion of research and development, and the expansion of access to critical products or services could all benefit from the use of voluntary licences.

Cross-License:  A cross-license is when two or more parties grant each other licences to utilise their respective patented technology. This type of licence is known as a cross-licensing agreement. Because of this arrangement, both parties will be able to access and make use of the patented inventions of the other. Cross-licensing is a common practice among businesses in the same industry. It serves multiple purposes, including the avoidance of potential patent infringement litigation, the promotion of collaboration and innovation.

_Patent Licensing in India

Licensing Process

Typically, the following steps are included in the patent licensing process:

Identification: The licensor identifies their patent portfolio and chooses which patents to licence.

Evaluation: Potential licensees are discovered and assessed based on their capabilities, market presence, and compatibility with the licenced technology.

Negotiation: The licensor and licensee negotiate the licensing agreement’s terms, which include licensing fees, royalty rates, length, territory, and any other relevant criteria.

Contract Drafting: A formal licensing agreement delineating the rights and obligations of both parties is drafted. To ensure the legality and enforceability of the agreement, legal professionals are frequently involved at this stage.

Execution and Royalty Payments: The licensing agreement is signed once both parties agree on the terms, and the licensee begins paying the agreed-upon licensing fees or royalties to the licensor.

Monitoring and Compliance: The licensor supervises the licensee’s actions to guarantee compliance with the licensing agreement, including royalty payment, quality control, and adherence to any other criteria mentioned.


Patent licensing is critical in commercialising patented inventions, encouraging collaboration, and boosting innovation. Inventors and enterprises can successfully utilise their intellectual property assets, improve market reach, and contribute to economic growth and technological progress by knowing the many types of patent licence agreements and the licensing process.

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