12/28/2018· Intellectual Property
By: Peter Crosby
Imagine this scenario: Early stage company Smallco develops an exciting new technology, which it uses to create the prototype of its first product - Brakethroo! A large company in the same field, Bigco, becomes aware of Brakethroo, and realizes that if the product works as hoped, it could be a valuable addition to Bigco's product range. Bigco offers to buy the technology and product from the shareholders of Smallco. The merger and acquisition (M&A) agreement specifies an up-front payment, and one or more payments dependent on achievement of milestones. Bigco agrees to use "commercially reasonable efforts" to achieve the milestones. Smallco and Bigco sign the agreement, the shareholders of Smallco get an immediate payout and look forward to further milestone payments.