Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Sublicense Definition:

The grant by a licensee of certain licensed rights to a third party.

In Eli Lilly, Justice Iacobucci of Canada's Supreme Court wrote:

"As a general matter, a sublicence amounts to a grant by a licensee of certain licensed rights to a third party, the sublicensee.

"That is, the licensee in effect transfers or licenses some or all of his or her rights to the sublicensee, which means that the sublicence has similar incidents to the primary licence, including the right to exercise independently certain rights enjoyed by the licensee pursuant to its licence.

"It has been said, in fact, that a sublicence is simply another name for the indirect granting of a licence."

Fox writes:

"Unless the intention is expressed or implied in the licence a licensee is not at liberty to assign or or sublicense without leave from his licensor."

In Halsbury's Laws of England, Volume 35, the authors add:

"To the extent that the license so provides, a sub-licence may be granted under any such licence,  and any such licence or sub-licence may be assigned or mortgaged."


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