Transborder Licensing: New Frontier for Job Creation
Andrea L. Johnson
California Western School of Law
September 11, 2010
This article makes the case that the best opportunities for creating new jobs in the United States will come from transborder licensing. Transborder licensing involves the creation and disposition of intellectual property (IP), such as copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets, across geographical boundaries. Licensing is a contractual agreement in which the owner of IP, called the licensor, agrees to permit or restrict the rights, privileges or immunity of another, called the licensee, to use informational assets (“assets”). The assets or property vary widely, but usually include the know-how, applications and technology used in industries such as telecommunications, computer and information technology, biotech and clean energy.
As a field of study, transborder licensing is interdisciplinary, focusing on the legal, tax, regulatory and business issues governing the export and import of these assets between two or more parties and governments from different countries. Ideally, licensing technology or intellectual property expands the market for a product or service, leading to job creation to meet the demand, without necessitating a huge expenditure of capital. Transborder licensing is a “new” emerging field of legal practice and business transactions because America’s most valuable asset, its U.S. intellectual capital, is being underutilized as a vehicle for building wealth.
The author proposes creating a quasi-pubic “Virtual Protocol” or VP that will allow inventors, authors, registered and unregistered IP owners to identify prospective partners, track IP licensed abroad, and notify infringers of violations. This VP can be accessible to agencies such as the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to further enhance enforcement without subjugating existing authority of current agencies. This article concludes that the environment to foster transborder licensing has to be developed with active participation from academic and research institutions, their students and alumni; and should integrate technology to achieve maximum benefits.
Professor Johnson is a Harvard-trained professor who is an expert in technology-based instruction and director of the Center for IP, Technology and Telecommunications at California Western School of Law. Johnson teaches Corporations, Business Planning, International Business Transactions, Administrative Law and Telecommunications Law, and founded “Creative a Job Initiative,” a student-based initiative to help law students pursue jobs and internships in nontraditional law careers and international business.
Keywords: Licensing, International Trade, Economic Growth, Jobs
JEL Classification: K33, L89, L96, L98working papers series
Date posted: September 11, 2010
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