les Nouvelles - December 2007

A Short History Of Licensing

Joseph K. Andonian

Patent Attorney and Licensing Consultant Portage, MI, U.S.A.

My career in licensing began in 1951 and overlaps the history of LES. I participated in at least one of the early discussions that gave birth to LES. It took place at a PLI seminar in New York City on the handling of surplus technology about 1960. The first president of LES (Dan Stice) and the first editor of les Nouvelles (Jack Ott’s predecessor) took part in that meeting. Since 1941 I have been a participant and an observer in the practical and business aspects of creating, acquiring and disposing of intellectual assets including but not limited to what is commonly referred to as licensing. I have personally observed and participated in thousands of licensing transactions and the related activities of the business community in the area of intellectual property with a particular focus on the automobile, military and pharmaceutical industries. From my perspective licensing is a tool for commercializing intellectual property per se. Its use and significance depends entirely on how much value is attached by the community at large to the intellectual subject matter involved, legally, morally and economically. What I have rightly or wrongly learned beyond the nuts and bolts of licensing per se throughout my 66 year long career may be of interest to present day licensing professionals.

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