Software Development

Software Development Agreements


Software Development Agreements are extremely important to create prior to developing any software.  These software agreements, at a minimum, need to be clear on the scope of the software to be developed, the ownership of the developed code, and any software rights reserved by the developer.  Our software attorneys have experience in programming software and, having such experience, are uniquely qualified to draft, develop and negotiate software development contracts that clearly identify the software being created and the rights being protected.  Whether you are a software development company, or a company who is outsourcing the software development work, our attorneys can protect your rights in and to your software development. A well drafted software development agreement not only helps minimize misunderstandings of the parties involved but it also avoids costly and unnecessary litigation disputes.


While it is generally never a good practice for a company or person to rely on a handshake or a written message to procure or develop software from a third party, ultimately disputes arising from misunderstanding can be avoided if a software develop agreement is executed very early in the process.  Once the developer generates source code, it is important that the software owner and software developer clarify and memorialize who will own the software, who may use the software, and what rights of the developer and the software owner are to be retained.   If the software developer may not reuse or sell the software, then the software license agreement needs to be very clear as to source code reuse and resell.


Negotiating Software Development Agreements


Software development agreements ensure i) the orderly transfer of copyright in the software from the developer to the company (i.e. the “work made for hire” doctrine), ii) procedures for resolving disputes, such as arbitration or mediation, and iii) any other specific software rights and/or reservations necessary between the parties (i.e. use of background-technology or pre-developed code, which may want to be owned by the developer but licensed to the company).  Other things to be negotiated in a software development agreement include a detailed statement of work for the software deliverables, the timeline for software deliverables, the amount to be paid for all deliverables (including milestone payments), and any performance warranties or warranties for a particular purpose to ensure the software is developed per the statement of work.


Whether you are a company hiring a programmer, or the programmer working with a company, our software attorneys can help you create a software development agreement that meets and exceeds your needs.






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