Friday, July 10, 2009

Pocket Guide

In an epic quest to increase my knowledge, a bit ago I started scouring the earth for resources on drafting agreements. What I really wanted was a book that would review individual provisions and tell me what they meant. (Eg, What's the difference between perpetual and irrevocable?)

I got PLI podcasts on negotiation, and a two-volume collection on IP Licensing. The most valuable resource I've found so far, however, is a little book by a local SF attorney. It's The Tech Contracts Pocket Guide by David Tollen. It's about 122 substantive pages, which to an attorney is like a magazine. He writes it for business people too, so it's in plain English. It's focused on software licensing, but it does give insight on business contracts in general. For example, here's one section I really liked:

A perpetual license should survive the term of the contract, but it ends if someone terminates. An irrevocable license should survive any termination, but it ends when the term ends. And a license that is both perpetual and irrevocable should survive the term and any termination.

While reading it, I came to appreciate how much I've learned at Sun; all my underlining was in the footnotes.