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Express Licence vs Implied Licence

An express licence and an implied licence are two different legal concepts related to intellectual property rights, such as copyrights, patents, and trademarks. They govern how rights are granted or conveyed to others.

Express Licence

It is a licence that is explicitly and clearly granted by the rights holder to another party. This licence is typically formalised through a written agreement or contract. It outlines the specific terms and conditions under which the licensee (the party receiving the licence) can use the intellectual property. For example, if a software company grants a user a licence agreement when they purchase and install the software, it is an express licence. The licence agreement will detail how the software can be used, limitations, and any fees associated with it.

Implied Licence

It is not explicitly granted through a written agreement but is instead inferred from the actions and conduct of the rights holder. It suggests that, under certain circumstances, a rights holder has allowed another party to use their intellectual property without the need for a formal, written agreement. Implied licences often arise in situations where it is reasonable to assume that the rights holder has given permission. For instance, if an artist consistently allows a local coffee shop to display and sell their artwork without any formal contract, an implied licence might exist. The artist's actions and the coffee shop's reliance on this arrangement imply a tacit understanding.

When it comes to protecting intellectual property rights, it is often advisable to have written agreements in place to clarify the terms and conditions of use. However, implied licences can also be legally binding in some situations, depending on the circumstances and applicable laws.

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