Technology transfer and licensing are closely related but are subtly different. Licensing allows the licensee to make use of the licensor’s intellectual property. Often the licensee wants to license the use of a specific technology though they might also be able to license the rights to use a brand name or a trademark or even a piece of music.
One of the least known, but most widely used, licences is that used by mobile phone companies for the design of their chip. The design for most phones is provided by a company called ARM, though they do not make anything at all. But the chips that are used by the phone companies are all made to ARM designs. Technology transfer usually implies a broader concept in which the transferor provides some technological know-how that can be used by the transferee. A transferor may, for example, have worked out a way to improve a manufacturing process or is offering a more effective approach to marketing and is willing to exchange that know how. The transfer may, but need not, include one or more licences covering specific aspects. With a licence, the licensee usually has to abide by a licence setting out what is allowed and what is not allowed. With technology transfer, the transferee will often build on the knowledge gained through the partnership.