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IP Agreements

IP Agreements

As soon as there are two different parties involved in a situation which involves use or creation of intellectual property, it will be important to put in place a framework to structure the relationship of the parties. IP agreements may also provide a straightforward way of realising IP value and terminating disputes

Major types of agreements include:

Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)

Protects the secrecy of information disclosed by one or both parties.

Research agreement

Structure the tasks and obligations of partners and deal with the ownership etc. of results.

License agreement

Determines the conditions under which Intellectual Property of a rightholder may be used by a licensee.

Settlement agreement

Determines the conditions of termination of a dispute.

Dispute resolution

It is very normal that two parties entering into a relationship involving intellectual property do not have the same ideas and interest. Therefore different tools exist to help finding an agreement if possible or to solve a conflict through intervention of a neutral party/body.


The easiest way is to find a compromise directly with the other party. Intervention of the respective counsels, legally and advantageously also technically qualified is recommendable to make sure the agreement corresponds to what the party wants and accepts.


Mediation is a negotiation process facilitated by a third party neutral whose main role is to help each party overcome obstacles and to see win-win possibilities if any. Frequently, mediation is a one-day structured exercise in the presence of each party and its counsel, with the purpose of writing down an agreement by the end of the day. If successful, mediation is a very speedy, confidential and cost-effective way of resolving disputes.


As an alternative to the court system, parties can agree to submit their conflict to an arbitration procedure. The result of an arbitration is an award concerning the litigious issues which is binding on the parties and which can be enforced through the courts without further discussion on the merits. Arbitration is generally speedy and confidential. An international treaty (New York Convention) provides for simplified international recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards in its member states.

Court Litigation

A party which sees its rights violated by somebody else can launch a litigation in court. Different legal systems like the civil law system usual in continental Europe and the common law system familiar in the US, England and former commonwealth countries have very different approaches in terms of procedure and cost.  The result is a judgment which is frequently subject to at least one appeal procedure. The final judgment can at least be enforced in the country of origin. In the European Economic Area, recognition and enforcement of judgements is provided by an international treaty. The Unified Patent Court which is expected to launch in 2022 shall issue judgments on infringement of European Patents with effect for all member states in which the patent has effect. Court litigation is generally public and usually takes more time than other dispute resolution mechanisms agreed between the parties. The UPC has the objective of handing down a first instance judgment within a year.   

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