World Intellectual Property Organization

Franchise or Trademark License Agreements

If your SME is interested in:

  • marketing a product or service and the brand (trademark) of that product is owned by others, or
  • entering or expanding the existing market for your product or service for which your SME owns the rights conferred by a trademark,

you may consider a trademark license agreement or a franchise agreement.

The principle function of a trademark or service mark is to distinguish the goods and services of one enterprise from that of another, thereby often identifying the source and making an implied reference to quality and reputation. This function is to some extent prejudiced if the trademark owner licenses another enterprise to use the trademark through a trademark license agreement. Therefore, the trademark owner is well advised, and often by law or contract required, to maintain a close connection with the licensee to ensure that the quality standards are maintained so that the consumer is not deceived.

Through a franchise agreement the owner of certain technical or other expertise who has usually gained a reputation in connection with the use of a trade or service mark (the franchiser) may team up with another enterprise (franchisee) who will bring in expertise of his own or financial resources to provide goods or services directly to the consumer. The franchiser will ensure, through the supply of technical and management skills, that the franchisee maintains the quality and other standards in relation to the use of the trade or service mark which often require certain standardized features like, for example, a uniform trade dress.

Copyright License Agreements

If your SME is interested in:

  • manufacturing, distributing or marketing the results of the literary and artistic efforts of creators, or
  • entering a market or expanding or extending your existing market for the literary and artistic efforts of your enterprise

you may consider a copyright license agreement. Many owners find it difficult to manage their rights on their own and they have formed collective management organizations that represent them and manage their rights for them. If you are interested in acquiring these rights you may have to address yourself to the appropriate collective management organization that will be authorized to license the various rights of their members.

Explore WIPO