Used software license market gains traction

Peter Wesche May 23, 2014

This week, li-x was released in Beta to add one more source for acquisition and disposal of software licenses that have been ‘used’ before. The move was encouraged by recent verdicts of the European and German courts. Although a start-up, li-x has got a history by its parent company Preo Software AG and its founders Boris and Christoph Voege.

Currently, all experienced companies involved in used software license resale, namely Usedsoft, Susensoftware and 2ndSoft, are increasing their web presence and look for means to accomodate an easier transfer of licenses to ensure compliance with the existing legislation. For those who need to have solid transaction support now, the use of the existing sites is recommended.


Axel Susen, Owner of Susensoftware, is not only experienced reseller for used licenses, he is willing to fight at court for strict compliance with IP law!

Buyers are encouraged to review the maturity of processes offered along with the licenses themselves. Doctor-License has built a special competency around supporting the deals with respect to proper legal diligence. Read more in my recent blog.

What to wish for Christmas?

Peter Wesche December 23, 2013

In software licensing you rarely think of a free wish or what would make you feel like Christmas. The environment of IT and, in particular, of license models and rules is far from wonders, for the most part.

But think of a few drastic changes that are no wonders in other subject areas, like the car business:

  • Only pay maintenance for the software you use
  • Only start paying maintenance when you use the software productively
  • Let the vendor send a fresh vendor price list when a new license product is launched
  • Get advance notice from the vendor about policy/model changes, including hints what that means for you
  • Sell off unused licenses in a second-hand market
  • Shift the burden of proof for software compliance to the vendor
  • Let the vendor execute your product update to remove faults and return a tested live system as part of maintenance

It might take years to get there, but Christmas is a time when such wishes can be pronounced, for the least! Until this becomes factual, some of you might drop by License12 to get a first sight of what transparent licensing can look like.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Licensing Year!

Lizzy's Christmas Dreams

New SAP allowances create exciting options

Peter Wesche September 23, 2013

There has been a lot of discussions among user groups and SAP’s license model. The most pressing issue lately was SAP’s reluctance to let user organizations only pay for what they use.

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The full story: Over years, SAP has been selling its software agressively, using high discount options to create shelfware, and to establish recurring cost by charging maintenance also for unused licenses. User organizations have called this practice questionable. Now, SAP starts to respond to their demands and has launched two important announcements:

  • Allowance to exchange licenses towards a hybrid model of SAP on-premise and SAP cloud solutions. See press-release.
  • Allowance for companies to de-commission licenses they do not use and re-calculate the associated maintenance fee. See press-release by dsag.

Both options are significant, as they allow all user organisations to exchange their unused software against more useful ones during a new purchase. The second announcement allows even to reduce maintenance cost when not buying new software, however applying a re-calculation of the old transaction which in many cases does not yield any refund or reduction at all! For more information, see CCC_Tag2_Ofner_Braendli

If you want to find out about your specific ability to reduce cost, call +49 6205 922885 for Doctor-License! We offer a 20-min quick assessment on the phone for free!


Seit Jahren gibt es eine Menge von Diskussionen unter Benutzergruppen über das SAP-Lizenz-Modell. Das dringendste Problem in letzter Zeit war SAP’s Weigerung, ihre Kunden nur für die Lizenzen zahlen zu lassen, die auch verwendet werden.

Die ganze Geschichte: Über Jahre hat SAP den Markt überverkauft, indem mit hohen Rabatten Shelfware erzeugt wurde und die laufenden Kosten durch die Wartungsentgelte auch für ungenutzte Lizenzen erhöht wurden. Anwenderorganisationen fanden diese Praxis fragwürdig. Jetzt beginnt SAP auf ihre Forderungen reagieren, mit folgenden wichtigen Ankündigungen:

Beide Optionen sind signifikant, da nun alle Anwenderorganisationen ihre ungenutzte Software gegen nützlichere während einer Neuanschaffung austauschen können. Die zweite Ankündigung ermöglicht sogar die Wartungskosten zu reduzieren, wenn nicht den Kauf neuer Software damit einhergeht. Allerdings erfolgt dies mit einer Neuberechnung der alten Transaktion, die in vielen Fällen überhaupt keine Gebührenverringerung erzeugt! Weitere Informationen auf CCC_Tag2_Ofner_Braendli

Über Ihre Möglichkeiten, Kosten zu senken, informiert Sie unter +49 6205 922885 gern Doctor-License! Wir bieten eine 20-min telefonische Schnelleinschätzung kostenlos!

How far can you go with reselling used software licenses?

Peter Wesche December 22, 2012

The ongoing debate with respect to used software disposal has received some more clarifications at court shortly before the 2012 Christmas break.

To make it clear, the whole issue only concerns licenses bought within the European Union legality, and if the license comprise perpetual rights!

Here are the Dos and Don’ts:

  • If the use of single licenses can be removed from your system/device/frontend so that you cannot use it any longer under the same licensed access, you are free to resell the license regardless of prior restriction imposed on you by the license contract. This right is irrespective of the delivery, if boxed or downloaded.
  • Licenses bought at a metric of multipacks, like in 3-user pack, package of 10 CALs or similar, you may only resell such packs in the same metric and cannot split into smaller units.
  • After buying multiple licenses under a volume license agreement, these can also be resold as single licenses even if operated under one authorization number, once you de-install the same and want to dispose off. However, you may not act as a regular reseller and exploit the volume license agreement under false intentions.
  • Licenses hosted via a client/server installation but not used in full license level, are currently not sanctioned for resale by the current court rulings. If you try to resell such license to remove shelf ware, you might have to go to court if the vendor induces an injunction. As an alternative, it is recommended to reach a compensation agreement with the vendor for such shelf ware.

If you need to know more about the details and sentences, do not hesitate to contact us! We can review your individual set-up and provide you with guidance, including the legal services by experienced lawyers.


Courts extend their watch on used software deals

Peter Wesche August 29, 2012

After the verdict of the European court in July against Oracle, now Microsoft is taking a hit from a court decision in Germany. The mandatory injunction orders Microsoft to discontinue statements on their website about excluding OEM operating systems for software transfer to new PCs. The verdict makes direct reference to the European decision.

The matter reveals two important points:

  1. It is getting easier to execute on reselling used software
  2. It requires more court decisions to pave the way for regular business in the used software space

With proper legal guidance, user organizations should take advantage of the trend and reinstate balance for the buyers’ market by triggering more court decisions if they feel mistreated.

European jurisdiction leaves room for interpretation on used software verdict

Peter Wesche August 13, 2012

While there was some press noise around the July 3rd decision of the European High Court, ruling a dispute between Oracle and usedsoft about reselling licenses, many questions remain open. But the verdict contains a number of new ideas that can help user organizations escape the dilemma of unused licenses. If the licenses considered have been bought under a perpetual licensing agreement, the following principles apply:

  1. Downloaded programs (‘immaterial’) are no longer discriminated from programs delivered on physical data carrier. Even more, download versions retain the access to the latest version by the legitimate buyer of the used license.
  2. If program copies are removed at the time of re-selling, the buyer has full fresh rights to the software in the same scope as the original transaction. This includes warranty and rights to enter into a software maintenance agreement.
  3. If the original license was a multi-pack, like a 25-user or 4 processor-pack, such licenses can only be resold in total and cannot be split into smaller parts for resale.

As a consequence, all software that follows the formal definitions of the verdict can be freely re-distributed without asking permission from the vendor, even if the licensing agreement contains clauses that reserve the rights for re-distribution to the vendor. Such clauses are not compliant with European free trade principles. As a further consequence, the vendor cannot continue to ask the first licencee to continue to pay maintenance for licenses re-sold, or ‘on shelf’ for resale, if the related copies have been removed.

What the verdict does not clarify, needs to be applied with common sense, at the risk of subsequent court-ruling if the vendor objects. Among these unresolved items are:

  • How can surplus licenses by re-sold from a license agreement that has no item-level pricing. Is this an indication for a multi-pack?
  • If the nature of the software is client-server/server-installed for all licenses depending on such server programs, is it possible to consider re-selling partial licenses when they are not part of a multi-pack licensing transaction?