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Home Q&A Forum What invalidates a perpetual software license?

Business Contracts

Software License


Asked on Sep 14, 2021

What invalidates a perpetual software license?

What would invalidate a perpetual S/W license under a user agreement that was purchased over 20 years by the customer under a services contract for a unique legacy test system still in use? Would the customer be required to purchase an annual subscription S/W license under a new contract when they are not receiving any additional enhancements, features or benefits for legacy S/W maintenance, training or upgrades since it in stalled on legacy Linux operating system computer workstations? This legacy S/W still operates under it intended use and functions correctly as advertised. Replacing the legacy S/W with new subscription S/W license would also force the customer to purchase new computer H/W at an additional cost and impact other legacy H/W and S/W that interfaces the legacy perpetual S/W. This would create additional S/W develop to test and modify existing code to validate the change would still meet it original intent and test capability. I am curious if this proposal would violate any federal acquisition or ethics rules in attempting to force the customer to pay for a S/W license that are not required to perform its current function providing no additional value because the company has changed their business rules to follow the current trend to charge customers for subscription based S/W license? Their justification is they are charging another customer an annual subscription S/W license so we should also be required to go along with their new business rules.

1 Attorney answer


Business Contracts


Answered 882 days ago

Octavia P.

ContractsCounsel verified

Business Lawyer
Licensed in Illinois
Free Consultation

A perpetual license generally authorizes use of a specific version of a software program indefinitely with the payment of a single upfront fee. However, software companies usually limit supplemental support and updates to a specific time (i.e., three years) and when that period ends, gives the customer the option to use the current version with or without paid support. Consequently, if there is a perpetual license in place your company should be free to continue to use your particular version of the software indefinitely without the requirement to move to a subscription-based plan unless your company requires tech support or any type of update/upgrade to continue to use the software which does not seem to be the case here. Nevertheless, the original user agreement and any ancillary agreements should be reviewed to determine factors such as the actual type of license and the powers/rights of the software vendor and your company to terminate or invalidate the license. If you would like a legal review of the user agreement/services contract you can post a contract review project on this platform, based on your question, to receive and compare multiple proposals from licensed attorneys who are registered and verified. Once you receive a response from an attorney you will be able to correspond through the platform to help with your decision to hire that attorney for the project.

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