The IT Law Wiki


Export control[]

A license is the

authority issued by the Bureau of Industry and Security authorizing an export, reexport, or other regulated activity. The term “license” does not include authority represented by a “License Exception.”[1]


A license is an agreement by the owner of property (including intellectual property), under which a third party is permitted to exploit that property in a manner which it could otherwise not legally do.

Intellectual property license[]

An intellectual property license is a grant of permission to use the owner's intellectual property. It does not convey ownership rights in the intellectual property, which remain with the licensor.

[I]t is well settled that where a copyright owner transfers a copy of copyrighted material, retains title, limits the uses to which the material may be put, and is compensated periodically based on the transferee’s exploitation of the material, the transaction is a license.[2]

A license is necessary if, without one, the licensee would be liable for infringement of an intellectual property right.

Patent license[]

A patent license is

authorization by the patent holder to practice the claimed invention, including, but not limited to, a covenant not-to-sue and a covenant not-to-assert.[3]

Software license[]

A software license, for example, may authorize the licensee to access, use, distribute, perform, modify, and/or reproduce the software, but expressly limit the access or authorized uses or expressly grant fewer than all rights in the software, whether or not the licensee has title to a licensed copy.


A license is

a document issued by the relevant authority authorizing the use of a radio station or equipment and/or radio frequencies to provide electronic communication services under standard conditions (a class license) or authorizing the construction ownership and exploitation of an electronic communication network or service when the number of such networks or services must be limited and specific conditions of use are attached (individual rights of use).[4]

U.S. copyright law[]

A license is

[a]n agreement by which a party grants another party one or more rights (but fewer than all rights), usually limited to a particular territory and/or time period. A license may be granted as an exclusive license or a nonexclusive license.[5]


See also[]