In a case involving a software sale gone wrong, the federal district court in Minnesota provides a nice recap of how courts analyze whether or not a given software-license transaction is governed by Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code (which covers sales of goods):
Article 2 of the UCC applies to “transactions in goods.” Under Illinois law, whether a sale of software constitutes a “transactions in goods” depends on various considerations.
One consideration is the rights conferred to the purchaser by the Agreement. A transaction that nominally involves a mere license to use software will be considered a sale under the UCC if it involves a single payment giving the buyer an unlimited period in which it has a right to possession.
Another consideration is whether the components of the software package were developed from scratch. Off-the-rack software is almost always a good. Customization or modification of a standard software product is generally considered the manufacture of a good rather than a service.
Additionally, contracts for the sale of software often include provisions of services, such as training and technical support. Where there is a mixed contract for goods and services, there is a transaction in goods only if the contract is predominantly for goods and incidentally for services. Article 2 applies to sales of software where the ancillary services offered are similar to those generally accompanying sales of computer systems, such as installation, training, and technical support.
Here, the Agreement is the sale of software that has been customized for Prairie River’s business.
- First, Prairie River purchased a perpetual enterprise license, meaning that Prairie River has a non-transferable right and license to perpetually access and use the Software.
- Second, the Complaint and the Agreement suggest that the Software is a standard Procura product. Customization of the Software is considered the manufacture of the Software in this case.
- Third, the ancillary services provided in the Agreement are the sorts of services — installation, training, and technical support — expected to accompany a sale of software.
Accordingly, the Court concludes that the Agreement governs a sale of goods subject to Article 2 of the UCC.
Prairie River Home Care, Inc. v. Procura, LLC, No. 17-5121 (D. Minn. July 30, 2018) (denying defendant’s motion to dismiss) (cleaned up, bullets added).
Hat tip: Richard Raysman and Elliot Magruder, Potentially Unconscionable Warranty Precludes Licensor’s Motion To Dismiss (Mondaq.com Oct. 5, 2018).