A prospective new client asked me yesterday about whether I was the right lawyer to advise on or draft a software licence. The client is seeking to take his business to the next level.
I smiled and got on with preparing an email in reply. I smiled because I guess people want to hear it direct from a lawyer. It isn't enough that on the Dilanchian website there is a heap of substantive articles on software licences and licensing. The site also has an advanced article search facility and a tag cloud. No, that's not enough, customers want you to customise responses for them.
As I prepared my email I saw from the client's website that he has an existing and apparently successful business. It's a novel business concept combining software and content licensing, retailing and IT. He was thinking of licences as a way of earning revenue from others who might pay royalties to use his concept. He may even be thinking of franchising his business.
From the client's website and level of trade mark registrations with his existing solicitors I realised this client was prepared for the day to come for licensing or franchising its business concept. A franchise is in simple terms merely an IP licence; and both franchise agreements and licence agreements are legal tools for forming business relationships.
Here's what I wrote. Note that at the end I direct the client to content on the Dilanchian website, particular as regards using IP licences and software licences to form business collaborations.
I've been monitoring and involved in licensing as a business relationships tool since 1983. I've been drafting licences on a computer since 1983, which in my case has permitted me to develop a huge database of 2,000+ templates, clause libraries, and a shell agreement. These "objects" operate within my licence-generating methodology. The attached informational brochures may give you some sense of the foregoing.
My involvement with software licensing became more intensive after 1993. Then from about 2002 I began to run half to 2 full day workshops Australia-wide and overseas for lawyers on contract drafting, shaped around my own licensing case studies and projects. One of the outcomes of these workshops is that I've been able to test my proprietary approaches and thinking against those of about 200 lawyers. The feedback I've received has rated my workshop performances as averaging "very good" and sometimes "excellent".
I've had a great deal of experience with content and software licensing. I've done licensing work for magazine and book publishers, artists, authors, filmmakers and a host of technology and services businesses.
I've drafted and advised on a full spectrum of software licences including licences acting for end users, developers, content contributors, support providers, outsourcing service providers and content translators. In the software sector the types of works have included desktop application licences, shrink-wrap licences, CD-ROM educational and entertainment software licences, click-wrap licences, licences for e-commerce and e-business systems, content licences, and web application licences.
The breadth of my experience with licensing permits me to use it for clients as a customisable tool helping to shape business relationships.
Photo credit: McDonalds in Broadway, New York. Copyright © Sevak Dilanchian 2008