Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary

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1) Permission to do something otherwise prohibited under law -- for example, a license to practice law or drive a car. 2) A contract giving written permission, for a limited time, to someone to exploit an invention, creative work, or trademark. A license provides a way for an innovator to make money from an invention or creative work without having to manufacture and sell copies, and without having to permanently relinquish ownership. Some licenses are exclusive (limiting the grant to one company) while others are nonexclusive (permitting several companies in an industry to market the product). 3) A private grant of right to use real property for a particular purpose, such as putting on a concert.