New Zealand: Software Licence Agreements for your business

With software licence agreements (also known as End User Licence Agreements or EULAs), more so than other types of business contracts, there may be a temptation to simply sign up without giving it much thought. We all want the latest software to allow us to run our businesses more efficiently and keep a step ahead of our competitors. But before you sign on the dotted line, ask yourself the following questions and consider the key provisions of software licence agreements described below.

Key questions

  • What does the software do? Consider how your business will benefit from this software and whether the cost of licensing the software is worthwhile (i.e. do you really need the software? Are there alternative options?)
  • How much is the licence fee and what will you get in return for that fee? Consider whether the fee is reasonable for the software and whether maintenance, upgrades and support are included in that licence fee or whether such support carries an additional cost.
  • Who is the licensor? Are they reputable and trusted in the industry?
  • Has the product been rigorously tested and approved? If the product is untested, there is a risk that it may be unreliable and costly to your business.

Key provisions of a software licence agreement

  1. Grant of Rights: The most important clause in any software licence agreement is the Grant of Rights clause. This describes the scope of, and limitations to, your rights to use the software. The Grant of Rights clause will usually look something like this: "The Licensor grants the Licensee a [type of rights] to [use] the software". The "type of rights" granted and the "use rights" may vary a lot. Below are some of the elements you should consider.

Type of rights

  • Exclusive vs non-exclusive: an exclusive licence to use software means that you are the only person or organisation with the right to use that software, even at the exclusion of the licensor. Exclusive licences are rare; most licences will be non-exclusive, meaning that many others can also use that software.
  • Royalty vs royalty free: You will usually be required to pay a licence fee for the right to use the software. If so, check that your licence is royalty-free, as you should not be required to pay additional royalties.
  • Territory vs global: Often a licence may allow the licensee to use the software only in a specific territory or country (such as New Zealand). If you may need to access the software while overseas, check that there are no territorial restrictions on your right to use the software.
  • Term vs perpetuity: Are you paying for a term licence (i.e. for a limited period of time) or a perpetual licence? If the licence is for a limited time, consider the renewal rights (if any). Ideally, as a licensee, you would want renewal rights at your discretion. If renewal rights are only by mutual agreement of the parties, this could give the licensor significant bargaining power when it comes time to renew the licence. The licensor may try to increase the licence fee or impose other restrictions on your use of the software as conditions to granting you a renewal, particularly if you rely on that software and there are no readily available substitutes.
  • Transferable/sub-licensable: It is important to check whether you are allowed to sub-licence or transfer your rights to a third party. If you allow any other group companies, sub-contractors and the like to use the software when they are not permitted to do so, you may be liable for breach of contract and/or penalty fees.

Use rights

The "use rights" can vary considerably. In addition to the general right to use the software, you may also be granted rights to copy, modify, adapt, create derivate works and so on. In most cases, you will probably only need the right to use the software (and perhaps have a copy for backup purposes), but if you may need further rights as listed above, ensure that the software licence agreement grants you those rights.

  1. Maintenance and support: You should ensure that the licensor has agreed to provide on-going maintenance and upgrades to the software and helpdesk support, should you have any problems. If you are simply licensing an off-the-shelf product with no maintenance and upgrades, the product may not remain useful for very long. These services are typically provided in addition to the grant of licence and, therefore, at an additional cost.
  2. Governing law: Finally, as it is common to obtain software from an overseas based licensor, software licence agreements will often be governed not by the laws of New Zealand, but by the laws of the state or country in which the licensor is based. You should consider the implications of this, in particular as to how you can enforce your contractual rights under the foreign law and the extent of your liability for breaching the terms of the licence.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.