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Merchandise Licensing Agreements (MLAs)

Merchandise Licensing Agreements: An Overview of Key Considerations and Best Practices

Merchandise licensing agreements (MLAs) are agreements between two parties that allow one party to use the intellectual property of the other party for the purpose of manufacturing and selling merchandise. This type of agreement is commonly used by companies that want to license the use of their brands, logos, or other intellectual property to others for the purpose of producing and selling merchandise.

The following are some key elements that should be included in an MLA:

  1. Scope of the license: The MLA should clearly define the scope of the license, including the type of merchandise that can be manufactured and sold, the geographic area in which the merchandise can be sold, and the term of the license.
  2. Royalties and payments: The MLA should specify the royalty payments that the licensee must make to the licensor, including the amount, the payment schedule, and the method of payment. The MLA should also specify any other payments that the licensee must make to the licensor, such as advance royalties, minimum guarantees, and marketing contributions.
  3. Quality control: The MLA should outline the quality control standards that the licensee must adhere to when manufacturing and selling the merchandise. This may include requirements for product design, materials, manufacturing processes, and labeling.
  4. Trademark use: The MLA should specify how the licensor’s trademark can be used by the licensee, including the permitted use of the trademark on merchandise and packaging, and the manner in which the trademark can be displayed.
  5. Termination and renewal: The MLA should specify the conditions under which the license may be terminated or renewed, including the notice period required and the process for transferring the license to another party.

When entering into an MLA, it is important to consider the following best practices:

  1. Seek the advice of a knowledgeable attorney: An attorney can help you understand the legal implications of the MLA and ensure that the agreement is legally binding.
  2. Negotiate favorable terms: The MLA should include favorable terms for the licensor, such as high royalty rates and strong quality control standards.
  3. Consider the reputation of the licensee: The reputation of the licensee is important, as the licensor’s intellectual property will be associated with the merchandise manufactured and sold by the licensee.
  4. Protect the intellectual property: The MLA should include provisions to protect the licensor’s intellectual property, including requirements for confidentiality and non-compete clauses.
  5. Monitor compliance: The licensor should regularly monitor the licensee’s compliance with the terms of the MLA, including the payment of royalties and the quality control standards.

In conclusion, a Merchandise Licensing Agreement is a critical component of merchandise licensing and helps to ensure that the licensee provides the services and support that the licensor requires. By considering the key elements and best practices outlined in this article, organizations can ensure that their MLAs are effective and protect their interests.