"License" as "GET license"


I have a question on “License”.

Is it common to use the word “license” (verb) to mean “GET license”?

Dictionaries say that “license” means " GIVE permission or consent to", but I came across the following two examples in which “license” seems to mean “GET license”.

A) NTP requested that RIM license its patents

B) If RIM ends up refusing to license the technology

Here, NTP and RIM are company names and NTP holds the license.

Please advice how should I understand the above cases.

Hi yt_hon,

In British English there are two forms: verb license noun licence. In the same way you have: practise (verb) and practice (noun).

As you can see, both words can be either noun or verb. In American English the spelling is license for both.


Thank you Alan, but actually that was not my question.

I understand “license” is used as a verb in the two cases I listed, . And in both cases, I could tell from the whole context (but not from the sentences themselves) that “license” meant “GET permission to use the technology”.

My point is, when you say, "Company X licenses the technology ", how can I tell if it means, “Company X GETs permission to use the technology”, or “Company X GIVESs permission to use the technology”? Is understanding the whole context the only way?

Is my question clear?

“Lisense” can be used both as “to issue a licence” and “give permission to use”. So when someone gives license to someone else, then the former gives the latter permission, not vice versa. The one who gives permission is the one who licenses. Does it make sense?

Thank you Ahmadov, too.

Your answer is getting closer to my point, but not quite yet.

If I apply your (and dictionaries’) definition to the two examples I listed,

A) NTP requested that RIM license its patents
… would be, “NTP requested that RIM Give Permission To Use its patents …”

B) If RIM ends up refusing to license the technology
… would be, “If RIM ends up refusing to Give Permission To Use the technology …”

Then, it is more natural to conclude that RIM holds the patent. But, if you read the articles fully, you’ll learn RIM does not hold the patent. It is NTP who holds the patent. So, the above examples should be read as,

A) NTP requested that RIM “GET” permission to use its patents …
B) If RIM ends up refusing to “GET” permission to use the technology …

My question, again, is “Is the above use of “license” common?”

The fact that two prominent magazines used the “license” in a way to mean “GET permission to”, I am guessing that such use can happen. But how often? Very rarely but sometimes? Quite often? Or, did the authors of the articles simply make mistakes?

Well, I think there is a problem in the article. Are you sure that the authors of the articles get advice from www.english-test.net in order not to make mistakes in their articles??? :lol:

License in the sense you’re asking about is to get official permission – or usually pay for official permission – to use a patent, a recipe, a design, etc.

Yes, when a person or a company gets the permission or rights to produce something from someone else’s design, we say that they get license to produce it. Whoever gives them the permission is the one who grants license.

License in the sense of a permit that you can hold in your hand (such as a driver’s license or a pilot’s license) is used with an article. “You need to get a license to drive.”

However, license in the sense of permission is a sort of uncountable noun (a mass noun) used without an article. “They were granted license to produce the product.”

Note also that license can sometimes mean the possibility to do absolutely anything you want. In civics class, the teachers always warned us not to confuse freedom with license.