Exclusive license

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Exclusive license
See also

Exclusive license is a license limited to a specific range or a field, such as:

  • time
  • territory
  • context
  • market.

"Exclusive" means that the licensor agrees not to grant other licenses that have the same rights in a grant covered by the exclusive license.


It is characteristic for this license that it refers to the technological application, production and production method of a specific product and to the geographical area. The licensee must meet performance requirements.

Exclusivity includes competition from the licensor itself or other licensees. In fact, the licensor may issue any number of licenses in the same scope and with different rights or a license in various respects with the same rights. The licensee of a legally exclusive license is the owner of a particular right from several rights that constitute copyright. Against a person who violates the licensing of the law in the field of the licensee's right may be initiated court proceeding[1].

In a situation where the license is exclusive but at the same time limited to a specific area of use, both entities should precisely determine the extent to which the licensee has the right to defend, enforce and prosecute the right to property. Although the license is considered exclusive, other licenses may be granted in other fields, based on the same property rights. These activities can affect the value of the license, which is why other licensees may request to participate in the enforcement and prosecution of property rights.


Exclusive license can be used to[2]:

  • produce product
  • sell product
  • distribute product
  • reproduce product
  • use logo and trademarks of the product
  • register any domain name
  • exploit features of the product
  • distribute product

Exclusive vs. Non-Exclusive licensing

The biggest difference that can be encountered when choosing a license is whether it is exclusive or non-exclusive. The main difference between the two licenses is that in the case of an 'exclusive license the parties usually agree that no other legal entity can use the product, except the licensee, while in the case of a non-exclusive license it grants to the licensee the right to exploit the product, but on a non-exclusive basis. That means that the licensor can still use the same product and he can also permit other licensees to use the same product's property[3].

The type of license affects other license terms, an example of which may be[4]:

  • duties of diligence, which in the case of an exclusive license may be much more onerous than in a non-exclusive license
  • it is likely that in the case of a non-exclusive license, the 'licensor may prohibit sub-licensing
  • in the exclusive license, the licensee has more rights to enforce, recover and defend the product's property rights.


  1. (E. C. Kulakowski, (2008), p. 830)
  2. (G. J. Battersby, (2010), p. 23)
  3. (J. Cannon, (2012), p. 669)
  4. (J. S. Heller, (2012), p. 175)


Author: Justyna Urbanik