Introduction of Licensing Executives Society International

The Licensing Executives Society International (LESI) is an international professional association dedicated to the research and development of licensing, the international transfer of technology and the protection of intellectual property rights. LESI now has 30 national and regional Member Societies and dozens of functional Committees with about 11000 members who chiefly are executives in charge of the intellectual property rights protection, licensing and technology transfer within private and state-owned enterprises ranging from large to medium size, companies, law offices and accountant offices, research and education institutions, and government departments and international organizations, etc throughout the world.

The history of LESI can be traced back to the autumn of 1965. At that autumn, over 40 professionals in licensing coming from America and Canada founded an organization named Licensing Executives Society (LES) at Hollywood Beach, Florida, USA. Thereafter, the influence of this organization LES in USA has continued to grow and the number of its members has boomed fast. The LES then has turned in essence from a pure professional club to an academic and practical society. In May of 1967, the LES held its first international seminar in London, UK. Except participants from America and Canada, there were also executives from British, Japan and some other European countries engaged in technology transfer and licensing to attend this seminar. From then on, countries and regions including UK/Ireland, France, Scandinavia, Italy, Belgium/ Netherlands/Luxembourg, and Japan, etc established their own LES organizations respectively and as a result the influence of LES has covered the main industrial developed areas in the world. Because of the need of development and the desperate desire held by the above individual LES organizations to create a uniform international association, delegates from those 7 LES organizations at that time declared formally in San Francisco, USA the establishment of the Licensing Executives Society International (LESI, or LES International) in the autumn of 1974. The original independent societies distributed in different countries and regions transformed into 7 member societies of LESI. International delegates sent by those 7 member societies and other members constitute LES International and various professional committees under LESI. Thus, LES has officially become an international organization with multiple functions and great impact. From 1974 till now, new member societies have been continuously built up in more than 20 countries and regions in succession.

Since the foundation of LES International, LESI has always kept the following aims: actively encouraging professional ability development and professional ethics improvement among individuals engaged in licensing, technology transfer and intellectual property rights protection in every member nation and region, honestly giving valuable advices and opinions to relative government divisions, and widely informing the public the knowledge of this field. Furthermore, LESI has also focused on providing professionals from various nations and regions the opportunities of extensive academic exchanges and professional trainings, thereby making available to its members the latest academic developments and professional practical skills in this field as well as the most accurate information on technology transfer and intellectual property rights licensing. The activities of LES are mainly involved in the following aspects:

1. Conferences and Meetings

LES International Conference takes place every year. Every member society can make a request for sponsoring the international conference and the LESI will authorize one member society to hold the Conference in the country or region of the sponsor member society. The International Conference will pick up a conference subject on the basis of the current practical needs each year and invite persons who win their worldwide fame in the field to make relevant speeches. During the International Conference each year, there are also dozens of group seminars called upon member requirements, in each of which a particular subject is discussed respectively. Besides, every member society holds its own Annual Meeting and several academic seminars each year. The member society will invite members either from its own society or from other member societies or even non-members to join the meetings. Among all these meetings, USA & Canada Annual Meeting is the largest one with thousands attendants and hundreds of group seminars sometimes. LES International Delegates Meeting takes place three times a year, usually one on January of each year, one during the LESI Annual Conference and one combined with the LES USA & Canada Annual Meeting. During each International Delegates Meeting, every professional committee under the LESI calls their committeemen to discuss and make a plan for the future operations. Members of LES can use these conferences and meetings to find out the latest news in the international licensing and technology transfer and gain enormous information relating to technology trading. In the practice, many successful technology transfers are achieved by virtue of the information gained in these meetings.

2. Academic Publications

les Nouvelles is a journal published quarterly by LES with high academic value and enriched with practical facts. This journal is only available to a member and not for public sale. The journal mainly includes important articles written by experts in licensing, technology transfer and intellectual property rights protection from various countries, experience summaries, the latest changes in intellectual property laws of different countries and relevant legal precedents, activity reports from LESI and member societies, and introductions for upcoming and future meetings, etc. On one hand, a member of LES can learn experiences and theory knowledge from other people through the journal. On the other hand, a member of LES can introduce the developments of this field in his/her country and valuable experiences accumulated in his/her own practice to other people through the journal. Also, a newest member directory edited and issued by LES is sent to every member every year, facilitating the members to contact with each other during the business and providing necessary helps. Since over 11000 members listed in the member directory are coming from large companies, law offices and accountant offices, research and education institutions, and other important organizations in most western developed countries and rising industrialized countries, member directory has already become a very useful partner guideline. Moreover, each member society will issue its own newsletter periodically or aperiodically for the reference of its member.

3. Contacts with Intergovernmental Organizations

The External Relations Committee under LES is responsible for contacting with relative international organizations. The primary function of the External Relations Committee is to identify the international organizations with collaboration potentials, point out the collaboration fields and formulate the practical resolutions according to the guideline and policy of LESI, to arrange meetings between leaders of LESI and the corresponding persons in charge in the relevant international organizations, to coordinate the collaborations between the LESI Committees and the corresponding entities of the relevant international organizations, and to recommend LES experts as a speaker or a consultant to relevant international conferences and projects, etc. At present, LES has already built up and maintained a close cooperation relationship with international organizations such as UNDP, WIPO, EU, etc.

Organization Structure of LES

LES is comprised of 30 national and regional member societies and the LES International. Each member society designates two members as international delegates to join the LES International. Those member societies with over 200 members can appoint one more international delegate with each 200 more members. LESI Board of Directors plays a leading role in LESI and is responsible for the organization’s routine works. LESI Board of Directors is made up of 7 officers, who are: the President, the President-Elect, the Immediate Past President, two Vice-Presidents, the Secretary, and the Treasurer. There are dozens of professional committees under the LESI, which are responsible for affairs in various professional fields. These professional committees are composed by specialists recommended by each member society. Usually, a professional committee conference takes place during the international delegates meeting.

LES China founded on 9th April, 1986 and now has 272 members including a few overseas members (from USA, Germany, and etc). After the return of Hongkong, Hongkong established a relatively independent Chapter according to China’s policy of “one country, two systems” and now has 47 members. The establishment of Hongkong Chapter plays an important role in promoting the development of LES China. Members of LES China mainly come from Ministry of Commerce and its subordinate branches, Ministry of Science and Technology, State Copyright Bureau, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and its district branches, large to medium state-owned enterprises such as China National Technical Import and Export Corporation, Sinopec Group, and SHOUGANG Group, foreign trade companies, law offices, research and education institutions, and other relative entities. The missions of LES China are: promoting the development of system construction and business practice in the field of licensing, technology transfer and intellectual property rights protection in China; advancing the progress of technology; improving the professional ethics and professional quality of individuals involved with licensing; and enhancing the exchange and cooperation between China and other countries and regions in the above mentioned areas. Since the foundation, LES China actively participates all kinds of activities held by LESI and its various member societies and sends delegates to attend the LES International Conference and the USA & Canada Annual Meeting each year. In addition, by holding the China Annual Meeting and various Seminars, LES China offers members the opportunities to exchange experiences and learn more and makes licensing widely known to the non-members. LES China has a secretary office responsible for the routine works of the whole member society. The secretary office publishes two journals: Licensing Newsletter and Intellectual Property Rights, and distributes them in the members. Besides, LES China also translates and edits training materials relating to licensing for the use of its members.