Most businesses will develop their own IP (intellectual property) at some stage, perhaps without even realising it. Sometimes this will be an innovative new product, sometimes it may simply be the copy on their website. Some businesses will never earn a penny from their IP, for some it will be the most expensive thing they own.

If you have IP you want to monetise, the two main options for doing so are selling it and licensing it. Each comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. To help you, we've put together this short guide on what you need to be aware of when buying, selling or licensing IP.

Selling IP

Selling your IP does exactly what it says on the tin. Generally it’s the simpler method and often comes with the benefit of a clean break. However, it doesn’t usually allow your business to continue profiting from the IP you developed in the long term.

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Licensing IP

Where a business develops IP and hopes to continue to profit from it in the future, they will generally license their IP. There are plenty of reasons to license IP, some of the most common being:

  • To profit from an idea/product a business isn’t able to commercialise themselves.
  • Sharing the risk and or exposure.
  • Reaching new markets/sectors.
  • Acquiring an advantage over competitors.
  • Reducing the cost of developing IP in-house.

Licensing IP can be a complex area, not least because licensors and licensees are often bound together in a long term commercial relationship. This is something that’s also worth bearing in mind when entering into negotiations to license IP. How you go about licensing IP will depend on the type of IP. For example, the procedure for licensing a patent is different from that of a trademark.

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Should you get an IP lawyer involved?

Short answer, yes. Whether you’re considering licensing your IP or someone else’s, it’s a good idea to speak to a specialist IP lawyer. If it’s your IP, they’ll be able to advise you on the best way to protect it whilst making a profit. If it’s someone else’s, they can ensure you get a fair deal and are able to use the IP for everything you want to do with it.

MyLegalAdviser makes it easy to get free, no obligation, quotes from a range of specialist IP solicitors within hours. So you don't need to worry you're being charged over the odds for a sub-standard service.


Our Lawyers

Tom Woodward

Simon specialises in commercial and intellectual property law, with a particular focus on IT and e-commerce. Simon’s advises his clients on a variety of commercial issues and his clients come from across the commercial spectrum, including retail, healthcare, digital marketing, technology and engineering.

Tom Woodward

Penny advises businesses at all levels from international corporations to local SMEs and start-ups on acquisitions, disposals, corporate restructuring and debt and equity financing as well as on all aspects of commercial agreements, including intellectual property licensing, supply and distribution.

Tom Woodward

Lucy has a particular expertise in the technology and manufacturing sectors. From a technology perspective, Lucy spent a number of years at Sage UK. From a manufacturing perspective, Lucy has a wealth of experience gained from supporting blue-chip clients in the rail sector.

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