A Thorough Approach To Licensing For Businesses

“Licensing” is a generic term that encompasses a broad range of business activity. In simplest terms, a “license” is the right to use someone else’s property (usually intellectual property, such as a trademark or patent). Although some think of a “license” as an alternative to a “franchise,” the terms are not mutually exclusive. In fact, one is a subset of the other — every franchise is a license, but not every license is a franchise.

At Plave Koch, we’ve strategized with clients on a variety of licensing arrangements to meet business objectives – and often the objective is to avoid creating a franchise. Sometimes brand owners want to expand their markets without taking on the legal burdens and expectations of a franchise program. And sometimes franchise companies want to create separate, non-franchised distribution channels for their branded products.

Our Business Licensing Services

Our licensing services often go hand-in-hand with our trademark services and other legal services to provide full-scope representation for businesses. Our attorneys provide a wide range of support involving:

  • Product supply arrangements with a branding component (such as “we proudly serve”-type programs)
  • Affiliation programs that create brand identity without full franchise-type integration
  • Dealer programs with carefully limited brand licensing and supplier controls
  • Agency arrangements in which commissioned agents operate under a common business name
  • Merchandising programs in which a brand owner licenses its trademark for use on unrelated products (such as tee shirts and coffee mugs)
  • Arrangements that avoid franchise law compliance burdens by taking advantage of “fractional franchise” and other exemptions
  • Know-how licensing without a branding component

As a business owner, operator or manager, the stakes are high. One poorly planned licensing agreement can lead to expensive and time-consuming litigation when things go wrong. Our attorneys make it their priority to implement effective strategies and draft airtight agreements that protect your business interests. Call our team today at 703-774-1200 or reach out online to learn more about our services and discuss your options.