The Licensing Executives Society International

History and Description

LES International is an association of member societies each composed of individuals engaged in licensing-in and licensing-out technology and in other aspects of transferring intellectual property. LES International (and its member societies) is a business-orientated professional society whose individual members include management representatives from companies both large and small, lawyers, patent attourneys, scientists, engineers, licensing reprensentatives from universities, goverment officials and many other who are engaged in some form of licensing or technology transfer activity. 

LES was officially founded in 1965 in the United States by a group of 79 American licensing practitioners in Hollywood Beach, Florida. these 79 individuals had been encouraged to join this new society through the efforts of Dan Stice of 3M Company and Dudley Smith of Calanese Corporation. The group´s common bond was their interest in the profession of licensing, i.e. technology transfer.

The objectives of the founding members of LES were

  • to further the profession of its members in the skills and techniques of licensing through education of the public in the social and economic significance of licensing,
  • to provide a forum for members to get together, meet each other and share experiences and common interests and
  • to facillitate the contacts between potential licensors and licensees.
LES International was founded in 1973 in San Francisco as a federation of societies formed by and for members in member societies, USA and Canada, UK, France, Scandinavia, Italy and Japan. Since this founding meeting, chapters have been formed in Argentina, Australia/New Zealand, Austria, Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg), Brazil, Ireland (as part of LES Britain and Ireland), China, Colombia, Spain, Germany, Korea, Mexico, Peru, South Africa, Switzerland and Venezuela. Persons from countries without a resident society may join any society of their choise. LES International has become a true national organization, with members from nearly 60 countries in 33 member societies. 

LES International conferences have been held all over the world - Brussels, Munich, Tokyo, San Francisco, London, Helsinki, Geneva, Madrid, Sydney, New Orleans, Dublin, Utrecht, Rome, Paris, Basle, Budapest, Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen. Speakers at LES Conferences have included chief executive officers of major corporations, university presidents, top goverment officials and exeperienced licensing practitioners, all of whom have been willing to share their experiences, philosophi and skills.

LES International´s quartely journal, les Nouvelles, is unique in its focus (which is entirely on licensing and issues affecting licensing) and is a scholarly journal of the first rank. The journal originated as a newsletter for the USA and Canada society and is now the authoritative publication, worldwide, on issues affecting licensing. 

LES International has grown from the 79 original US members, who founded the society in 1965, to an international organization of more than 5.800 members from 33 chapters and 60 countries. In the nearly 25 years since its founding, the membership of LES has grown not only in numbers, but also in diversity. The 79 original members were essentially businessmen working for industrial corporations or engineering contractors and self-employed consultants. Since the founding, the membership has grown to include members from many different disciplins, including (among others) private attorneys, accademicians and government officials. What the membership has in common is their important role and significant interest in licensing. It is the diversity (both geographic and professional) that gives LES one of its real strengths. The combination of nationalities and disciplines produces a synergistic result - wich is LES today.

Another strength of LES International is the volunteer spirit found in each of its member societies. LES has essentially no paid employees. Its officers and board members are volunteers who lend their considerable skills and energies to the society.

The national and regional member societies are very active within their own areas, and each contributes to the international organization, which, on behalf of its member societies represents the business of licensing in discussions and joint activities with international organizations such as the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT). 

LES International has adopted rules of conduct which all of its members are expected to observe in the conduct of their licensing activities. Thus, not only does LES assist its members in improving skills and techniques, it also sponsors the development of and compliance with ethical standards in licensing activity, expressed in the les rules of conduct.

The original purposes of the LES founding fathers have been expanded through the formation of LES International and its member societies. These purposes include:
  • encouraging high professional standards among licensing professionals;
  • improving skills and techniques in licensing throug self-education, the conduct of special studies and research, the sponsorship of educational meetings, the publication of important articles on licensing and the exchange of ideas and experiences related to licensing;
  • informing the public, international organizations, governments and the global business community of the economic significance of licensing and of the profession´s high professional standard; and
  • informing les members of the latest and the most accurate information of licensing through publications of LES International and its member societies.

In addition to accomplishing these purposes, LES International serves its members by providing a network of more than 5,800 licensing professionals in 60 countries around the world who are willing to share information and experiences about licensing and technology transfer. This network is supported by the LES annual membership directory, the second most important publication of the society.

LES International, its member societies and its worldwide members are proud of their organization, its influence in the business of licensing and its role in improving the prosperity of the world through licensing which is properly managed to ensure equity and legitimacy.