Can you “own” a software licence?

This old article discusses fundamental questions of property ownership in relation to software, in light of a strange CJEU decision in the UsedSoft case.

IP Draughts

Property can be moveable…

Is it meaningful, in law, to refer to owning a software licence?  Is a licence “property”?  These questions have been highlighted by a recent decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the case of UsedSoft GmbH v Oracle International Corp.

This blog article focuses on one narrow point from the judgment, and is not intended to analyse the case generally.  The case is summarised on the IPKat blog here.  However, a brief summary is useful here by way of background.  UsedSoft offered for sale “used” licences to Oracle software that were current but no longer needed by the original licensee.  The software was downloaded from a website, and no physical copy of the software, eg on a disc, was provided.  The licence agreement which accompanied the software stated that the licence was “nontransferable”.

…or immoveable

Oracle brought proceedings in the…

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