Under U.K. law, the doctrine of privity of contract means that, as a general rule, a contract only can confer rights or impose obligations on the parties to that contract. Even where a contract is made with the express purpose of conferring a benefit on someone who is not a party, that person (the third party) has no right to sue on the contract. The Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 ("the Act"), however, which came into force on November 11, 1999, has created a significant exception to the doctrine of privity of contract by providing that, in certain circumstances, a third party is now able to enforce the terms of an agreement in its own right. As such, it may have a dramatic effect on all types of contracts, including licences of intellectual property, entered into under English law. The implications for the licensing of intellectual property rights could be far-reaching.