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Software Agreements: Models Most Commonly Used

Software agreements are legal contracts between software developers or vendors and users that govern the use of the software. These agreements outline the terms and conditions of use, as well as any restrictions or limitations placed on the software.

Software agreements models and templates can take many different format, including end-user license agreements (EULAs), software-as-a-service (SaaS) agreements, open source licenses, and more. These agreements may cover topics such as licensing fees, intellectual property rights, warranties and disclaimers, limitations of liability, and user obligations.


The main features of these type of agreements are:

  • Legally binding: Software agreements are legally binding contracts that outline the terms and conditions of use of the software. Both the software developer/vendor and the user are bound by the terms of the agreement.
  • Specific terms and conditions: Software agreements include specific terms and conditions that govern the use of the software. These terms may cover licensing fees, intellectual property rights, warranties and disclaimers, limitations of liability, and user obligations.
  • Varying levels of complexity: Software agreements can be simple or highly complex depending on the type of software and the intended use. For example, open-source licenses may be relatively simple, while software-as-a-service agreements may be highly complex.
  • Customizable: Software agreements can be customized to fit the specific needs of the software developer/vendor and the user. This may include adding additional terms or modifying existing terms.
  • Required for use: In many cases, users are required to agree to the terms of a software agreement in order to use the software. This may be done through a click-through agreement or other means.
  • Enforceable: Software agreements are enforceable by law, and failure to comply with the terms of the agreement can result in legal action.


Software agreements typically consist of several key clauses, including:

  • Scope of Agreement: Outlines the scope of the software agreement, including the parties involved, the purpose of the agreement, and any limitations on the use of the software.
  • License Grant: Specifies the terms of the software license, including any restrictions on the use, copying, distribution, or modification of the software.
  • Fees and Payment: Describes the fees and payment terms associated with the software, including any upfront or ongoing costs, payment methods, and billing cycles.
  • Term and Termination: Outlines the duration of the agreement and the circumstances under which the agreement can be terminated by either party.
  • Intellectual Property: Outlines the ownership of the software and any associated intellectual property, including patents, copyrights, and trademarks.
  • Warranty and Support: Specifies the warranties provided by the software vendor and any support or maintenance services offered.
  • Limitation of Liability: Limits the liability of the software vendor in the event of any damages or losses resulting from the use of the software.
  • Confidentiality and Data Protection: Outlines any confidentiality obligations and data protection requirements associated with the software and its use.
  • Dispute Resolution: Specifies the process for resolving any disputes that may arise between the parties.
  • Governing Law: Specifies the law that governs the software agreement, typically the law of the country or state where the agreement is being executed.


Software agreements can take many different forms; nevertheless the four models most commonly used are:  Software License Agreement, Software Distribution Agreement, Software Development Agreement and Software Maintenance Agreement.

Software License Agreement

This contract is used when a company that owns the rights of certain software (the Licensor) authorizes a third party (the Licensee) to use it, in exchange for a price. The main feature of this type of agreement is that the granting of the license does not include transferring the ownership of the software; in other words, the Licensor still owns the software. Certain general terms and conditions (installation, duration, price and form of payment, warranty, etc.) are established based on technical concepts used in the Agreement. The Licensee has to agree to these terms and conditions, and is not usually able to negotiate them with the Licensor.

Model of Software License Agreement

Software Distribution Agreement

This agreement is intended to serve as a biding contract between two companies, the owner of a software program (Licensor) and a software distributor, which sells the software to users (Licensees). In exchange, the Licensor receives an initial sum for the granting of the rights, plus royalties for each one of the software licenses which the Distributor sells in the given territory.

The Agreement also includes certain clauses to ensure that the Licensor has control of the software licenses granted to the Distributor, and that the Intellectual Property Rights which are granted are properly used.

Model of Software Distribution Agreement

Software Development Agreement

This type of Agreement is used to provide custom software development for clients. is a legal document which stipulates the terms and conditions of a software development project between two or more parties. In this type of services agreement a software company (Developer) agrees to develop, supply and install new software programs to another company (Client). The ownership of the software is transferred to the Client. Once defined the scope and services provided, the Software Development Agreement contains clauses such as Developer responsibilities, phases of the development, payments, warranties, confidentiality, non-competition, copyright, training, applicable law and competent jurisdiction. 

Model of Software Development Agreement

Software Maintenance Agreement

Generally this type of agreement is complementary to other contracts mentioned above. Once the maintenance services provided are specified, the Software Maintenance Agreement includes clauses such as payments, term and termination, cancellation, equipment, resolution of disagreement, applicable law and competent jurisdiction. 

Model of Software Maintenance Agreement

In conclusion, by entering into a software agreement, users agree to comply with the terms and conditions set forth in the agreement. Failure to do so may result in legal action, such as a breach of contract lawsuit. It is important for both software developers and users to carefully review and understand the terms of any software agreement before entering into it.

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About Olegario Llamazares

Economista, director de Global Marketing Strategies y socio fundador del portal Globalnegotiator. Está especializado en negocios internacionales con un énfasis en comercio exterior, marketing y negociación internacional. Tiene su residencia en Madrid, España.Economist, managing director of Global Marketing Strategies and founding partner of the website Global Negotiator. He specializes in international business with an emphasis on trade, marketing and negotiation.