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Research And Publication

Title Treatment of Intellectual Property License in Insolvency: Analysing Indian law in comparison with the U.S. and U K
Authors Ram Mohan, M.P.; Gupta, Aditya
Type Working Paper
Publication Date 12-Aug-2021
Year 2021
Abstract A bankrupt debtor’s ability to escape unprofitable contracts, enshrined in Section 365 of the American Bankruptcy Code, is considered central to a successful reorganisation within Chapter 11. The ambit of this power and the consequence of its application has been the subject of unceasing legal and business controversy. Intellectual property licenses assumed the forefront of this controversy in 1985 when the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that Section 365 includes a unilateral power to rescind an Intellectual Property License. Congress reacted to the Court’s decision by amending Section 365 and legislating specific protections for Intellectual Property Licensees. This paper explores the American jurisprudence on the treatment of intellectual property licenses during bankruptcy and examines them within the insolvency regimes of the United Kingdom and India. The study reveals an important legal deficiency: neither jurisdiction incorporates any explicit protections for Intellectual Property Licenses during bankruptcy. Further, we find no substantive provisions that deal with the treatment of ongoing contracts during Corporate Insolvency Resolution Proceedings in India and Administration in the UK. For India, this raises an important issue relating to the desirability of a resolution professional’s ability to interfere with pre-petition IP licensing agreements. The authors underline the importance of such interference and suggest amendments to the Indian insolvency regime to deal with intellectual property licenses during bankruptcy.

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