Computer Software Transactions in Washington State–What Commercial Laws Can the State Provide for this Industry? Is UCITA the Answer?

Joseph B. “Jobe” Tichy, Computer Software Transactions in Washington State–What Commercial Laws Can the State Provide for this Industry? Is UCITA the Answer?, 37 Gonz. L. Rev. 377 (2002).

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By now, the year 2002, many end users of computer technology are very familiar with the “click-here-to-accept” software arrangements. This practice has been inundated upon purchasers of computer software and has become common practice in the software industry. In the last decade, Washington State has seen an explosion of software companies, and this rise of software development has created a booming software industry in Washington-unlike any in the world. Does solid commercial protection exist for the companies that created this industry in Washington? The intellectual property developed by these companies certainly deserves a well-founded scheme of protection to reflect the special nature of computer software transactions.

Licensing is one method to help companies protect their intellectual property. Computer software licensing is the vehicle most used by these companies to make profits by distributing their intellectual property to users. Software licensing is a very important form of protection because it is “the only way to both deliver non-customized software at the retail level in an efficient manner, and to protect the licensors’ intellectual property rights.” But what protection and well-founded structure of rules regulates these licenses for the benefit of the software companies and commerce generally? Nothing. However, such a scheme of protection does exist in the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (“UCITA” or “Act”). UCITA is a computer licensing commercial code which provides guidelines and default provisions for computer licensing and would ultimately be a crucial step toward protecting Washington’s computer software commerce. . . . Read More

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