Why have a commercial agreement to protect a patent?A patent provides the owner with a monopoly to commercially exploit the invention for the period of the patent. With the appropriate written agreements in place, this eight- (innovation patents) or twenty- year (standard patent) monopoly can be used to maximise the commercial return on the invention.
Actuate IP’s patent lawyers can provide you with a well-drafted commercial agreement in plain English that clearly identifies the respective rights of all contracting parties. Importantly, these agreements are designed to promote a positive relationship between the parties and, in the unwanted event that a dispute arises, will pre-empt possible ‘worst case scenarios’ so your rights are protected.
Patent licence agreements
A patent licence agreement is the most common type of arrangement through which a patent holder commercialises their invention. A comprehensive patent licence agreement sets out the rights and responsibilities of each party from the outset and provides contingencies in the unwanted event of a breakdown in the relationship between parties. Unclear contracts, or purely verbal agreements, will cause further disagreement and result in unnecessary legal costs and damage.
We recommend establishing a clearly documented patent licence at the outset as an investment to provide you with business certainty and protection against legal complications at a later stage while enabling you to maximise your commercial return from the transaction.
Non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements
Before applying for registration, an inventor may wish to disclose their invention to others to determine its commercial viability. As a patent must be ‘novel’ at the time of filing the first application, a non-disclosure agreement ensures that any person you discuss your invention with must keep it confidential from third parties. Confidentiality agreements also protect other types of information that would not be protected even if a patent application for your invention has been filed. For example, it can protect commercially sensitive business plans and marketing strategies that you might disclose to a prospective interested party. For this reason we often recommend that you have a confidentiality agreement in place, even where you have your patent application already filed.
How can Actuate IP assist?Actuate IP can assist in drafting a range of patent-related agreements, documentation and services including:
- transfers/assignments of patent rights
- patent licensing (exclusive and non-exclusive)
- research and development agreements
- manufacture and distribution agreements
- supplier agreements
- marketing agreements
- support and maintenance agreements
- contractor and consultancy agreements
- confidentiality agreements
- patent/technology agreements.