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Software Contract: How To Pick The Right One

software contractWhen you’re looking for a software contract to use, the first issue to resolve is what kind of agreement you really need.

There are many app-related contracts that go under a variety of different names, including:

  • Software Development Agreement
  • Software License
  • Software Consulting Contract

Software Development Agreement

This type of software contract is for the creating of a new application or version of an existing app. In some situations, it’s a master development agreement that covers multiple app projects over a period of time.

The most important issue that will shape the entire agreement is whether you’re the developer or the business that’s retaining developer. An experienced software lawyer will prepare a contract that reflects your interests on key terms, such as scope of work, intellectual property ownership, deadlines for milestones, and payment terms.

Related Article: Keys To A Successful Mobile App Development Agreement

Many software agreements also cover ongoing app maintenance for a period of time. However, if your software contract doesn’t address this issue, you may want a separate software maintenance agreement with the developer to ensure you have ready access to the expertise you need to fix bugs, keep the app compatible with OS upgrades, etc.

Software License

There are many types of app licenses. The most common is the end user license agreement (EULA). Other popular licensing agreements include beta testing, distribution, resale, and trial/evaluation licenses.

Software Consulting Contract

Like a development agreement, a software consulting agreement will vary considerably in its terms and conditions depending upon whether you’re doing the consulting or the client who is hiring a consultant. A good software attorney can draft a software contract that meets your needs under either scenario.

Do You Need Only One Software Contract?

It’s common for a business to need more than type of software agreement to protect their interest in the application.

Let’s say you want to pay a third party to develop an app for your company.

First, you’ll want a software development agreement that favors you and encourages the developer to deliver on a timely basis. Ideally, this contract will include ongoing maintenance provisions for the app so you have some support.

If you’ve got beta testers, you should protect your app with a software beta testing agreement.

What about a trial/evaluation copy for prospective customers? If you’re doing that, then a software evaluation license makes sense.

For your end users of the software, you’ll want a EULA.

Unless you’re selling the software from a single site owned by your company, chances are software distribution agreements (domestic and international) plus resale licensing will come into play too if you’re serious about protecting what you own.

If you’re unsure what software agreement(s) you need, it makes sense to set up a phone consultation today with Software Lawyer Mike Young.

Mike Young, Esq.

Author Mike Young, Esq.

Mike Young has been practicing business and technology law since 1994 and is an angel investor in startups. He's been an entrepreneur since 1988. To get legal help from Attorney Young, click here now or call 214-546-4247 to schedule a phone consultation.

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