Litigation of IP matters takes several forms. One involves patents, which cover inventions on designs and products, as well as the processes through which they are manufactured or used. Patent infringement refers to the unauthorized use of a patented invention, at which point litigation can arise.
Trademarks and copyrights also can be infringed. A trademark can be a symbol, logo, word, sound, color, or name that identifies the source of a product and distinguishes it from that of others. Copyrights protect works of authorship, such as writings, music, and art. Copyrights and trademarks grant holders exclusive rights to use their works, and an unauthorized use can lead to litigation. Trade secrets are information that companies keep secret to give them an advantage over competitors. Misappropriation of trade secrets is a typical litigation scenario when such information is taken without authority.
Licensing disputes can arise that relate to any of these protections. A licensing agreement is essentially a contract between an IP rights owner and an entity authorized to use such rights, usually in exchange for an agreed upon fee or royalty. The extent to which parties do or do not follow the terms of that contract often engenders this type of litigation.
Other kinds of IP litigation can include variations of the above, including trademark dilution, domain name disputes, domestic and foreign customs seizures, and unfair competition.
IP assets are a valuable foundation of any successful venture, so when unauthorized use occurs, disputes are bound to arise.
Definition: An IP licence is an agreement between the owner of a specific IP right and a third party, in which the IP owner (licensor) provides the third party (licensee) with the right to use (part of) its IP rights for a limited time, for certain products, in an often restricted geographic area.
Managed correctly, it can provide businesses with an important revenue stream, as well as offering them a cost-effective method to extend their brand into new product or service areas, and into new markets.
Exclusive License in Trademarks:
An “exclusive license” means a license whether general or limited, authorizing the licensee to the exclusion of all other persons including the person granting the license, to use a registered trade mark in the manner authorised by the license and the expression “exclusive licensee” shall be construed accordingly.
An exclusive licensee shall have the same rights against a successor in title who is bound by the license as he has against the person granting the license.
Exclusive License in Copyright:
A license which confers on the licensee or on the licensee and persons authorized by him, to the exclusion of all other persons (including the owner of the copyright), any right comprised in the copyright in a work and “exclusive licensee” shall be construed accordingly;
Exclusive License in Patents:
Exclusive licence” means a licence from a proprietor of, or an applicant of, a patent which confers on the licensee, or on the licensee and persons authorized by him, to the exclusion of all other persons, including the proprietor or applicant, any right in respect of the invention, to which the patent or application relates, and “exclusive licensee” and “non-exclusive licensee” shall be construed accordingly;
Compulsory License in Patents:
Non-voluntary License/Compulsory License: a non-voluntary license is issued to prevent the abuses which result from the exercise of the rights conferred by the patent, for example, failure to work.
A non-voluntary license shall not be issued if the owner of the patent satisfies the Controller that circumstances exist which justify the non-exploration or insufficient exploitation of the patented invention in Pakistan.
Pakistan does not have any specific law governing the issues relating to franchising. Nevertheless, Pakistan’s Supreme Court has endorsed the definition of franchise as “a privilege granted or sold, such as to use a name or to sell products or service. The right given by a manufacturer or supplier to a retailer to use his product and name on terms and conditions mutually agreed upon.” In its simplest terms, a franchise is a license from owner of trade mark or tradename permitting another to sell a product or to serve under that name or mark.