Case Law Update: Checked your software licence recently?

Dispute Resolution - 1 minute read

This case delivers a timely warning for any business using software under a licence. 

A business licensed two software products from a supplier. The first product helped manage its operations, and the second enabled the first software to communicate with other software used bu the business.

The licence for the first software charged different fees for different categories of named user, and the second was based on volume of messages processed. 

The Claimant supplier successfully argued that additional use by the client, who had allowed its customers and a third party App access via the supplier’s software, was a breach of licence and that charges applied. 

The lessons? Check carefully the licence terms for any software products used by your business, and make sure it is actually used in accordance with that that licence. 

The Case; SAP UK Ltd v Diageo Great Britain Ltd [2017] EWHC 189

To avoid inadvertently breaching their licence, businesses licensing software should:
Ensure the licence clearly defines the permitted uses of the software, and what is chargeable
Monitor and review their use of the software periodically in the light of technological innovation and developments in the business