The question of the differences between an exclusive, non-exclusive and sole licenses comes up quite often. So we have set out a simple explanation of each. In each example we are basing it on licensing a trademark owned by the licensor. But it could be for many matters, such as equipment, databases, software or course content.


1. Exclusive licence. This means that only the licensee has the right to use it to the exclusion of the licensor also.


2. Sole licence. Only the licensee and the licensor can use it to the exclusion of any other third party.


3. Non-exclusive licence. The licensor can grant licenses to as many licensees as he wishes.


4. Bare licenses. Be aware of the bare licence. This is a licence granted for no consideration (eg for no money – free). This kind of licence can be revoked by the Licensor at any point.


Remember, licences can be as open or as restrictive as you want (or are capable of negotiating). It can be for the world or for one city; it can be forever or for one month; it can be for use on everything or restricted to a single use.