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Under the terms of the deal, Company A is allowed to pursue a minor variation of this technology of Company B.

Does "variation" mean "type"? I cannot figure out what it means.

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, p.s.w.g, TrevorD, MetaEd, Bradd Szonye Aug 1 '13 at 9:28

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  • Briefly, "minor variation" means "minor change" or "small change". – TrevorD Jul 31 '13 at 22:31
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"Variation" does not mean "type" in this instance.

variation

There are several definitions but the one that applies here is something slightly different from another of the same type.

A minor variation emphasises that the difference is even more slight.

The wording of the sentence makes it difficult to understand. Substituting alternative words might make it easier:

Under the terms of the deal, Company A is allowed to [design|test|research|develop|investigate|offer] a slightly different version of the technology [owned|developed|provided] by Company B.

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The answer by Frank H. gives a good definition of variation, but the ambiguity of the sentence really comes from the lack of indication as to whether the variation is mandated or tolerated.

Does . . .A is allowed to pursue a minor variation of this technology of Company B mean

A is allowed to pursue this technology, but it must be in the form of a minor variation from that which Company B utilizes.

or does it mean

A is allowed to pursue this technology of Company B, and even if it is in the form of a minor variation, it will be covered by this authorization.

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