Software licence contracts and software development contracts

On software licence and development contracts we act for both vendors and users.

The vendor

For a software vendor, these contracts and any accompanying maintenance contracts are of life-or-death importance, because after all the vendor “lives” off of the copyright on the software. That’s why it’s so important to use contracts that are fit-for-purpose and that are regularly updated to reflect your current business operations, as well as new regulations and case law. You might be surprised at how often  software vendors don’t devote enough attention on this, despite the fact that if a dispute ever does arise, the consequences can be huge. A contract consisting of nothing more than a signed offer setting out the price and delivery date, and for all other issues simply refers to sector-based general terms and conditions (in the Netherlands, often NLdigital, formerly Nederland ICT, ICT~Office and FENIT) will generally not cover everything and set you up for some potential unpleasant surprises. That’s why it’s so important to use contracts that are regularly updated to reflect the current business operations, as well as new regulations and case law. Many software vendors have discovered too late that they didn’t devote enough attention on this, and the consequences are huge.

The user

A lot can also go wrong on the user side in the process of acquiring and implementing new software, especially custom software packages. The vendor’s product demo often makes everything look perfect, and then the buyer gets handed a nicely packaged offer, but what happens when the software turns out to be less wonderful than you thought or the implementation keeps running aground? That’s when the most important thing to do is to get timely legal advice. One of the most common problems we see is that the user’s complaints are not properly documented and that the vendor’s meticulous progress reports don’t sufficiently reflect the customer’s complaint. If you are that customer and the dispute goes to litigation, this can mean big problems for you. We can advise and assist you over the course of this type of project, to ensure that everything gets documented the right way. This should ideally prevent any disputes from going to court or mediation, but if they do then we will be there to represent you throughout the process.

Want to know more?

Please let us know the legal issue(s) you would like some advising on.