A Licensing Agent is a person who is hired to manage and oversee the usage rights to a business’ copyrighted or protected material. They are familiar with a wide range of laws such as those involving advertising, marketing, and infringement. A licensing agent can be hired independently, although many times they work under the direction of a larger licensing agency or firm.
Licensing agents often act as a mediator or go-between for a business client and a third party that wants to use the business’ logo or products. For instance, suppose that a chocolate business is instantly recognizable due to their trademark logo. If a milk company wants to use their chocolate and logo for a chocolate milk product, the chocolate business may wish to hire a licensing agent to handle the copyright matters.
In addition to these types of services, a licensing agent can also be responsible for the marketing and advertising campaign for the product or services. Thus, licensing agents need to be trained in a wide range of skills.
Licensing agents usually create a working contract with their client, whether it is a business, artist, or individual seeking their services. The licensing contract will dictate such terms as:
- Who can or can’t use have license to use the client’s material
- Whether the agent will also engage in promotion and marketing of the client’s product
- How the agent is to be paid
- Whether the payment will be based on the product’s performance in the marketplace
- Any other important provisions, such as the availability of alternative ways to resolve disputes
In some cases, legal conflicts can arise between a business and their licensing agent. In such cases, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit for the purpose of suing the licensing agent for damages or lost profits.
When suing a licensing agent, some legal issues to consider include:
- Whether the agent is working independently or under an agency (you may need to sue the agency also if that is the case)
- Whether you wish to maintain a working relationship with the agent even after the lawsuit – this may be desirable if there is a long of working history with the agent
- Gathering all important evidence that is relevant to the legal dispute, such as: copies of the logo/material; contracts between you and the agent; any subcontracts with third parties; any witness testimony
You should understand that most of your legal claim will probably based on the terms that are written in the working contract between you and the agent. This highlights the importance of having a clearly written contract from the outset of the business endeavor.
As with any legal claim, suing a licensing agent can be a complex task. It’s in your best interests to hire a lawyer when suing a licensing agent. An experienced entertainment lawyer in your area can help you file the documents and can assist with other tasks such as reviewing the contract terms. Also, you may wish to hire a lawyer early on during the negotiation stages with the agent, so that you can avoid legal disputes in the long run.