Edward Perlman’s “Integrating Business Goals And The Law In Licensing Deals” is a great example of the practical, tell-me-the important-stuff articles I like to find and recommend to non-lawyers.
The money quote:
“Lawyers and business executives have very different perspectives on the topic of licensing. Your outside counsel probably focus on what rights, obligations and liabilities are created in your company’s license agreements. As in-house counsel, you want to know whether the license will successfully advance your company’s business strategy of obtaining a technology or financial profit, or both. Obviously, integrating both sides is critical.”
Perlman makes short, solid points that summarize the business goals (the “whys”) and the approaches you can take (the “hows”). Lawyers often assume that you have thought through all the business issues and options. Businesspeople often have an unstated assumption that they expect their lawyers to bring up alternatives rather than stick to the draft agreement at hand.
Lawyers need to consider both viewpoints. Clients need to consider both viewpoints. In many cases, that does not happen, especially when lawyers are unfamiliar with licensing in general, with licensing and related strategies in your industry, and, worst of all, with the technologies at issue in the license.
Perlman’s article is a great example of a way to bridge that gap. Highly recommended.