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By Charles DesForges

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Monopoly grants The creation of legal systems whereby monopoly rights are granted to those who develop original concepts with practical value was based on the philosophy that economic development would result which was of overall benefit to society. This benefit was held to outweigh the possible disadvantage of restricting competition because of the monopoly grant. Nevertheless it is difficult to separate the personal benefit from the societal benefit. To look beyond personal gain from commercial exploitation one has to consider the more general advantage that stems from the diffusion of new knowledge by licensing intellectual property rights.

Genetic engineering v natural products? 8 Products via process licences: can the process used be identified in the final product? If not, how can infringement of a process patent be policed? Investment theory for royalty calculations The main financial feature of a licence is the arising income which is paid to the licensor either as a lump sum or at regular intervals or a combination of the two. The economic case to justify the investment by the licensor in order to achieve the due payments from the licensee has to be established and in a similar manner the licensee will have to make out a case to acquire the licence.

What qualities must the licensee have in order to have some hope of success? A licensee must be well briefed as to what they are seeking and be both patient and persistent. These attributes must be allied to realism as to the level of possible returns and the timescale needed to convert the new acquisition into profitable sales. Above all they must recognise that the statistics of success are not weighted in their favour, as my personal experience confirmed. During an eight-year period of investing in early-stage projects with intellectual property assets a company, for which I was responsible, made detailed assessments of 456 projects, selected 47 for investment and realised a positive return on twelve, with two licensed projects generating multi-million pound sterling sales value.

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