1 minute read


Government Licenses, Private Party Licenses, Patent And Copyright Holder Licenses

The permission granted by competent authority to exercise a certain privilege that, without such authorization, would constitute an illegal act, a TRESPASS or a TORT. The certificate or the document itself that confers permission to engage in otherwise proscribed conduct.

A license is different from a permit. The terms license and permit are often used interchangeably, but generally, a permit describes a more temporary form of permission. For example, if a homeowner seeks to make structural additions to her property, she may have to apply for permits from local land-use and ZONING boards. These permits expire on a certain date or when the work is finished. By contrast, the contractor who completes the work will likely hold a local license that allows her to operate her business for a certain number of years.

Licenses are an important and ubiquitous feature of contemporary society. Federal, state, and local governments rely on licensing to control a broad range of human activity, from commercial and professional to dangerous and environmental. Licenses may also be issued by private parties and by patent or COPYRIGHT holders.


Antoniak, Michael. 1995. 21st Century Entrepreneur: How to Start a Home Business. New York: Avon.

Gellhorn, Walter. 1956. Individual Freedom and Governmental Restraints. Baton Rouge Louisiana State Univ. Press.


Hunting; Patent; Tort Law; Trespass.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Legislative Veto to Lloyd's