LICENSE, in law, permission by proper authority, as to enter upon land, sell liquor, etc.; also, the written or printed document giving snch authority. Among the most im portant of private licenses are licenses to enter land, licenses to make or sell patented articles and licenses granting the sole right to print or to sell certain books. Among the most im portant of public licenses are those given by municipalities or other governmental authority to persons pursuing certain callings, trades, professions or the like, as for sale of liquor, the practice of medicine, driving of public vehicles, peddling of goods, etc.
A license to enter land vests no estate in the licensee, and the death of either party revokes the license. A license of this kind may be for a consideration or purely gratuitous, but in either case it may be revoked at any time by the licensor. However, if the licensee has paid a consideration for the license and it is revoked by the licensor in such a way as to amount to a- breach of contract, the licensee can sue, if there is no fault on his part, for damages for breach of contract. If the licensee refuses to leave after his license has been revoked, he ordinarily becomes a trespasser, whether the time agreed upon has expired or not. Occa sionally courts .of law and more frequently cowls of equity modify this doctrine. A license to enter land, being personal, is not assignable, and it is revoked if the licensor conveys the premises to a third party. A licensee who has been granted exclusive use to land by the owner cannot bring an action against a third party who uses the same land.
Similarly, the licensee of a copyright cannot bring an action against one who infringes the copyright. The same rule applies to patents.
Licenses to sell intoxicating liquor and li censes regulating certain callings, as peddling of goods, are usually regulated by State stat utes or municipal ordinances, and a fixed fee therefor is generally charged. Usually a high fee is charged for a license to sell intoxicating liquor, either for the purpose of raising revenue or to restrict its sale, or•both. This restriction is justified on the ground of public policy, as experience shows that a low license fee favors an increase in the number of places where intoxicating liquor is sold, which in turn leads to an increase in the amount of intoxicating liquor consumed by the general public. The State, under its police power, exercises the right to regulate the practice of certain trades, pro fessions, etc., and this has proved by experi ence to be a poli=he interest of the people as a whole. See Orriorr.
Certain licenses imposed by municipalities or States have been held unlawful by the Federal courts of the United States, as a tax upon drummers soliciting orders for firms in another State, a license tax upon an agent of a railroad company doing interstate business, and likewise upon a telegraph company doing interstate business.