You’re working with a third party – perhaps a university – on a cutting-edge project. You both have ideas but aren’t yet able to agree terms. Yet you both want to move things on. That’s where Memoranda of Understanding or Heads of Terms come in.
They’re used whilst the scope of a transaction is being agreed. In a nutshell, they show that you and your partners are serious about working together.
Many people assume they are not legally binding – but be careful, that’s not always true.
Most often, you need to precisely set out what’s binding and what’s not. Otherwise:
- there’s danger of you committing to payment terms or quality standards without realising it.
- equally, presuming something is binding – confidentiality for example – may prove disastrous if the signed document turns out to be non-binding and your sensitive information is in danger of being made public.
This sounds obvious but details like this are often missed. And it’s the details that make the difference.
Once you’re clear on the way forward you can enter into a Collaboration Agreement.
Collaboration Agreements can be used in many circumstances
If you’re working with a university for example, you will be funding research or be part of research funded by a third party led by a university.
Quite naturally, the university will want to be able to publish all the research’s findings.
But we need to make sure that commercially sensitive and other confidential information is not put into the public domain.
What’s more, if the research is likely to generate intellectual property we’ll want to hang on to any parts of it that could produce income (or at least share it – but not hand it over!)
We’ve been working a lot in recent years with universities balancing the expectations of commercial interests and the need for confidentiality.
Make sure all your interests are protected when you work in partnership with others.
If you’d like to make sure your collaboration goes as smoothly as possible, call 01904 899794 to get started.