Commercial protective rights are monopoly rights. The protective rights holder has an exclusive right of use. However, he can transfer rights from a commercial protective right in a limited or unlimited manner to other persons by means of a license contract. If a protective rights holder has transferred all rights from his protective right exclusively to one single licensee, this is called an exclusive license. If there are several licensees, the individual licensees only have a non-exclusive license. If there are several licensees, the individual licensees only have a non-exclusive license, which is often referred to also as simple license.
The exclusive licensee obtains a right in rem. He can e.g. autonomously assert all rights derived from the patent right. He is e.g. entitled to take measures against infringers in his own name and e.g. lead infringement proceedings himself. Unlike the non-exclusive licensee, an exclusive licensee may grant sublicenses as far as this has not been excluded in the license contract. A non-exclusive licensee only has a contractual right to the use of the protective rights vis-à-vis the protective rights holder.
In principle, license contracts can be freely drafted, however, the Act against Restraints on Competition and the European antitrust law, in particular, must be respected because any restrictions on the licensee fixed in the license contract are often inadmissible because of the antitrust law.