Software is ubiquitous in today’s world. Even your phone has different types of software on it — and you are allowed to use this software because of various license agreements. While many of these agreements won’t be a cause for concern, there are certain license agreements that you need a qualified tech law attorney to navigate.
Some agreements are built into the product that you purchased and will remain in effect as long as you own that product. Similarly, you don’t need to be too concerned about software that you purchase for personal use. You were granted a software license when you purchased the software that allows you to use it for a designated period.
The type of software licenses that warrant your attention are those that you agree to when you create products for other people to use. If any portion of a product or service that you offer relies on another creator’s software, you need a license for that software to legally use it in Pennsylvania.
But what happens when there are contractual disputes about how that software can be used?
Common Contractual Disputes and Potential Resolutions
Before you sign a contract to license software, it is vital to consult with an experienced tech law attorney. This will help you avoid contractual disputes later. Here are some of the most common types of disputes your attorney will work to prevent and prepare for, along with what you can do to resolve these disputes:
Licensing cost disputes can arise when a company changes the way it charges users for its software.
The best way to resolve this type of dispute is to make sure any terms are ironclad. If they aren’t and the software owner is trying to obtain more money from the agreement, you need to determine whether a new deal is still worth the value of what you are getting.
Before agreeing to a change in licensing costs, research whether another software provider can serve as a replacement. If that is a viable option, it gives you more power to negotiate. Sometimes, it is better to end a license agreement and switch software providers. It may cost more in the short term but can save money in the long term.
Your lawyer will be able to determine the most cost-effective strategy for you going forward.
Usually, part of any license agreement includes a guarantee that the software provider will maintain the software and update it as technology changes require. If the provider isn’t fulfilling its obligation to quality control, make sure to document that failure.
In the worst-case scenario where the software provider refuses to provide promised maintenance, you may be able to refuse payment for services or cancel the contract.
Another point of dispute involves the length of the licensing agreement. Very rarely does a licensing agreement last indefinitely. Most software creators put a time limit on the license or only license a certain version and won’t maintain it after new versions are released.
Unfortunately, when it comes time for renewal, this is a good opportunity for the license provider to significantly change the terms of the agreement.
Often, the best way to avoid these types of disputes is to be on good terms with the license provider and to renew well in advance when possible. If you suspect renewal terms will not be what you want, try to find an alternative for consideration so that you can negotiate more effectively.
A Lancaster Tech Law Attorney Can Make All the Difference
Software licensing disputes can be complex to navigate in Pennsylvania. If you are considering creating a tech licensing agreement or having difficulties with an agreement already in place, our knowledgeable team at Lancaster Tech Law can find the effective solutions you need with efficient, superior service.
Contact us to schedule your consultation with a seasoned tech law attorney in Lancaster today.