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International Licensing - Poland


Dr Aleksandra Auleytner
Jakub Kubalski

Nature of Licensing Agreements


POL1 The holder of an intellectual property right (licensor) uses a licence to grant the right to use that intellectual property to a third person (licensee). The licensee does not become the owner or holder of the right but merely acquires the right to use the intellectual property under the terms of the licence.

POL2 A licence agreement has many traits in common with a rental or lease agreement, but differs in certain respects. Whereas a rental or lease agreement applies to a corporeal item, which generally can only be used by one user at a time, a licence agreement applies to an incorporeal (intellectual or intangible) item, which generally can be used in multiple locations by multiple parties

POL3 In addition, although a rental or lease agreement grants the renter or lessee possession of the goods rented or leased, a licensee obtains abstract rights. Most types of intellectual property may be subject to a licence, including:

  • Copyrights and neighbouring rights;
  • Patents (including supplementary protection rights);
  • Utility models;
  • Industrial designs;
  • Trade marks; and
  • Databases.

POL4 Occasionally, a licence involves complex rights, such as copyrightprotected software along with a trade mark-protected product name or a patent-protected invention.

POL5 Agreements such as know-how agreements, agreements on making available company secrets, and franchising agreements are not qualified by Polish doctrine strictly as licence agreements (as they are not regulated by provisions of law, they are the so-called innominate agreements). However, the nature of such agreements is similar to that of licence agreements. Moreover, the relevant provisions of Polish law that regulate intellectual property rights licences, such as copyright licences or patent licences, apply to such agreements accordingly.

POL6 The owners of personal rights (interests) such as a name, image, or voice may grant third parties the right to use them, also in a commercial context (for example, as a trade mark).

Source: Center for International Legal Studies, październik 2011

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