8 Places To Find Model Licence Agreements

Open-source, academic or commercial model agreements to kick-start your express licensing activity.

Sometimes it can be helpful to sketch out the kind of licence you want to create before going to your legal support. It is almost always quicker and cheaper to do it this way if you’ve fashioned 98% of the licence before getting it checked, tidied up and finalised by a legal professional. You don’t have to be a legal expert to do this though and there are resources out there that can be used as a starting point. I’ve put together a list of some model agreement resources that you can use as the basis for some of your own agreements, whether in an open source, academic or commercial context. These can almost always be adapted to work with the E-lucid ‘clickwrap’ style agreement process too.

Easy Access IP

Easy Access IP is an international collective of Universities and Research Institutions who believe in creating impact from research outcomes via knowledge exchange. The purpose is to create impact from university research outcomes as opposed to monetary aims. In return for free access to real world, excellent relevant research and IP, Easy Access IP asks licensees to demonstrate how they will create value for society and the economy
acknowledge the licensing institution as the originator of the intellectual property, report annually on the progress on the development of the Easy Access IP, agree that if the IP is not exploited within three years, the licence will be revoked and agree that there will be no limitations on the licensees use of the IP for the university’s own research.

Useful downloads

Further reading


Brunswick Material Transfer Agreement

The Brunswick Group have developed a number of template agreements for use between two universities or similar not-for-profit organisations. The aim is to remove the need to spend time on drafting and negotiation in the majority of cases.

This agreement is not designed for use between universities and commercial organisations, a task that is being tackled by the Lambert Group.

· Template Material Transfer Agreement

· Template Human Tissue MTA

Further Reading

ARMA Website

Knowledge Transfer Ireland Model Agreements

The KTI agreements have been produced as a resource for those approaching transactions between Irish research performing organisations (RPOs) and commercial companies and take account of the legal constraints upon RPOs when entering into contracts, as well as the unique nature of RPOs, whose primary purpose is not for profit rather than commercial. At the same time, the terms of the agreements seek to address the typical commercial priorities of companies. Among other model agreements, examples of those pertaining to IP include:

Further Reading


AUTM Model Transfer Agreements

The Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) is a U.S .based nonprofit organisation that services the global academic technology transfer profession through education, professional development, partnering and advocacy. AUTM’s more than 3,200 members represent managers of intellectual property from more than 300 universities, research institutions and teaching hospitals around the world as well as numerous businesses and government organisations. Their list is quite U.S. orientated but they give a good overview of example policies and agreements.


Further Reading



A tool created by Github to help you choose the right open source software licence for you.

Suggests mainly prevalent open-source licences based on your needs, such as:

Further Reading


Creative Commons

Creative Commons (CC) is an American non-profit organisation devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share. Through licensing they allow creators to communicate which rights they reserve, and which rights they waive for the benefit of recipients or other creators. An easy-to-understand one-page explanation of rights, with associated visual symbols, explains the specifics of each Creative Commons license. Creative Commons licenses do not replace copyright, but are based upon it. They replace individual negotiations for specific rights between copyright owner (licensor) and licensee, which are necessary under an “all rights reserved” copyright management, with a “some rights reserved” management employing standardized licenses for re-use cases where no commercial compensation is sought by the copyright owner. The result is an agile, low-overhead and low-cost copyright-management regime, profiting both copyright owners and licensees. They have also grown to cover more than just copyright and media.

Further Reading



Docracy is a place to post contracts and other legal documents which are then socially curated by the communities that use them. It can be a bit hit-and-miss, depending on what you’re looking for, but it’s a useful starting point nether the less. You could also consider posting your own agreements up when you’ve completed them and creating a network of organisations and individuals who can co-ordinate and share their efforts.


Further Reading


This is by no means an exhaustive list so if you have any other suggestions please leave a comment, reach out on Twitter or drop us a line via our website.