1 Technology Transfer Tactics Secrets of Win-Win Contracts: Negotiating and Contracting Tips from...

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1 Technology Transfer Tactics Secrets of Win-Win Contracts: Negotiating and Contracting Tips from the Tech Transfer Experts May 2008 Gail Taylor Russell Taylor Russell & Russell, P.C. Austin, Texas Kevin M. Levy Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart, P.A. Miami, Florida Slide 2 2 PRE-CONTRACT NEGOTIATION Licensors Perspective Prepare, Prepare, Prepare Due Diligence -Know your IP -Know the market -Know your Licensee Identify your team Consider your Exit Strategy Stay current on the applicable law Stay current on business and legal trends Identify your important issues Identify your give issues Develop a game plan and execute it! Slide 3 3 PRE-CONTRACT NEGOTIATION Licensors Perspective Non-Disclosure Agreement NOT a boilerplate document. Narrowly define the purpose of disclosure and use of the Confidential Information. Do NOT include a provision requiring all Confidential Information documents to be marked Confidential, but do adopt an internal Confidential Information Policy for handling of licensor and third party disclosures and receipt of Confidential Information. Exclude all warranties and liability with respect to the Confidential Information. Do NOT limit period of confidentiality for trade secrets. Attempt to obtain licensees agreement as to licensors ownership of specific trade secrets. Slide 4 4 Key Considerations for Licensee in Contract Negotiation Time to Market Freedom to Operate Valuation Ownership of Improvements Slide 5 5 Licensees Perspective: Time to Market Technology acquisition must have economic value Can licensee minimize time to market, cost and risk by licensing rather than developing? Time to market is key consideration Proven technology that has a been productized or has an advanced prototype more valuable (i.e. higher licensing fees) More development that must be done - more time and risk (i.e. lower licensing fees) Slide 6 6 Licensees Perspective: Freedom to Operate Ability to practice the technology and sell the product or service that embodies the technology is critical IP clauses must protect not inhibit licensees freedom to operate Most licensees will get a freedom to operate opinion Risk associated with licensing after the opinion must be factored into license price Slide 7 7 Licensees Perspective - Valuation Value of licensees rights affected by licensors subsequent acts or omissions Absent express controlling terms no obligation to preserve value of license Licensor will perform its obligations under the license in good faith... Only refers to performance of the contract Doesnt preclude licensor from acting in its own interest Licensee may want express language controlling certain acts of licensor Slide 8 8 Technology Transfer Tactics: Negotiating and Drafting Key Contract Terms from the Licensors and Licensees Perspective Slide 9 9 Grant Clause and Scope of Rights Narrowly define the granted rights by being specific and unambiguous. Do not license more than you intend. Include specific restrictions. Exclusive v. non-exclusive license, and consider the territory. SPECIFIC TERMS Licensors Perspective Slide 10 10 Licensees Perspective: Grant clauses and scope of rights Statutory license terms for patent and copyright make, use or sell reproduce, display, distribute Non-statutory license terms access and use software where use is not related to a patent right Licenses that limit statutory terms Both parties will want the terms clearly defined for non-statutory and limitations of statutory terms Scope of rights Field of use restrictions, geographical restrictions, reservation of rights in an otherwise exclusive license Slide 11 11 Transfer of Rights, Assignment and Sublicensing Either none or include significant restrictions, such as licensor absolute right, at its sole discretion, to pre-approve in writing any assignee or sublicensee. Counter licensees merger, acquisitions and loan argument with your right to know your partner. Recognize that an overbearing provision will effect the market for the licensee - which may also effect licensors investment position. SPECIFIC TERMS Licensors Perspective Slide 12 12 Licensees Perspective: Transfer of rights and assignment by Licensee For license to have economic value (especially for a small company), licensee: Wants ability to freely transfer the license if acquired may transfer to a third party that acquires substantially all the assets of licensee Does not want to have to get consent during acquisition negotiations with a third party Inserts uncertainty and risk into any acquisition negotiations Case law: transferee of a license receives no rights unless the transfer was authorized so licensee will insist on ability to transfer language Slide 13 13 Licensees Perspective: Assignment by Licensor Licensee concerned with assignment of the agreement by licensor Will want to ensure any assignee possesses technical competence to support, maintain and enhance the technology Licensee should prohibit any assignment of the agreement by licensor by merger, consolidation, operation of law or otherwise without the prior written consent of licensee Slide 14 14 Licensees Perspective: Sublicenses Licensee may want to maximize revenue by sublicensing the technology May not have manufacturing capability, channel access, geographic limitations etc. Generally Nonexclusive license may not be assigned without consent of licensor Exclusive license may be assigned without consent of licensor Slide 15 15 IP Ownership and Improvements Clearly define all IP owned by licensor. Who owns derivative works and improvements ? The developer, unless otherwise specifically stated. Specifically state that all derivatives and improvements will be owned by licensor regardless of who develops, and licensee will (and licensee will cause its employees and agents to) assign all rights to Licensor. Keep detailed records of developments during post-granting of license period. SPECIFIC TERMS Licensors Perspective Slide 16 16 Licensees Perspective: IP Ownership and Improvements Usually most difficult contract clause to negotiate Licensee wants rights to licensor downstream improvements since not having those rights could substantially reduce license value Licensee wants to keep rights to its own improvements for competitive advantage Options Reciprocal rights (limited) Option to license each others improvements Some limited exclusivity to inventing party Limit time period in which improvements may be licensed Improvements sublicensable? Slide 17 17 Licensees Perspective: IP Ownership and Improvements (continued) Other issues How should the IP be protected? Patents or trade secrets? Who decides? Who patents and enforces newly developed IP? Specify who pays for patents, prosecution globally What about joint inventions? Slide 18 18 Warranties and Limitations of Liability Exclude everything and try to limit liability as much as possible (but not always possible). Specifically exclude warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and non-infringement. If Licensor insists on full IP warranty and indemnification, counter with cost of patent search and cost of license will go up dramatically. If international transaction and goods involved, also exclude applicability of UNCISG. SPECIFIC TERMS Licensors Perspective Slide 19 19 Licensees Perspective: Warranties and Limitation of Liability General warranty vs. limited warranty General: warranting party is liable upon breach and party receiving the warranty has all available remedies Limited: remedy is limited, often to repair or re-performance Limitation of liability Usually disclaims special, incidental and consequential damages Licensee will try to negotiate warranties of non-infringement, performance/capabilities of technology, has not failed to disclose any material fact, no pending or threatened litigation, compliance with law, virus warranties, etc. Slide 20 20 Indemnification Read carefully - all indemnification provisions are NOT alike. Who controls defense and settlement of claim ? Who pays for costs of defense and settlement of claim ? Who pays costs of helping to defend and settlement the claim ? Can indemnified party choose counsel (at its own cost) to assist the indemnifying partys counsel ? SPECIFIC TERMS Licensors Perspective Slide 21 21 Licensees Perspective: Indemnification Technology has no value if licensee cant practice it Licensor will insist on limitations Licensee will want limited limitations No indemnification for combination only if technology alone does not infringe Provide for options Licensor procures right to use the technology or Returns license fees amortized over reasonable period of time Slide 22 22 SPECIFIC TERMS Licensors Perspective Royalties Be specific. Knowledge of market and licensee will help ability to negotiate closer to 5% rather than 1%. Slide 23 23 Licensees Perspective: Royalties For technology that requires productizing, licensee should request reduced or limited royalties for a reasonable period of time Design of the royalty provision should be based on industry standards and practices key for licensee Example: patented technology may be used in process or method, not directly in a product Risk allocation based on one upfront payment, smaller upfront payment with running royalty, no upfront payment and larger running royalty Running royalties allow both parties to avoid assessing a fixed value upfront for the licensed technology lets the market determine Important (and sometimes very difficult) point is specifying and defining the royalty base on which running royalties will be paid Slide 24 24 Milestones Require specific milestones for the license to be kept alive. Examples include - completion of licensee business plan, hiring CEO, raising funds, clinical trials, government approvals, marketing and bringing product to market. Include specific remedies if licensee fails to reach specific milestones. Examples inclu