The reasoning for the German Federal Court’s verdict

The reasoning for the German Federal Court’s verdict from 11 Dec 2014 is now available. Not only did the verdict pave the way for the market of free software, but also caused a sensation in the year-long fight between software producers and used software dealers.

For the first time the Federal Court of Germany declared rather unmistakeably that the exhaustion of rights of distribution applies to the first buyer’s copy but also to the second buyer’s copy. Volume licences may, therefore, be split and re-sold.


Windows 10 brings new upwind for used software

“The market for used software is going to double year by year” – a prophecy made by Boris Vöge, CEO of Software trading platform li-x.

The new release of Microsoft software this year promises an even bigger boost for the used software market. Windows 10 will be released this summer. In Autumn we can expect a new Office package, too. Ever since software producers, such as Microsoft and Adobe, started introducing rentable software licences, companies are drawn to the advantages of used software. For firms, institutions and administrative offices prefer older software releases, which they actually own.

Vöge estimates the market volume of all German-speaking countries at round about 100 Million Euros. Compared to the actual market potential this is apparently meant to be even quite low. “Dealers, who focus on transparency like li-x, will continue to further grow.”



UK Government and Microsoft – Support deal for Windows XP expires

A support agreement between the British government and Microsoft guaranteeing the release of special security patches for PCs still on Windows XP has expired. Not all UK government departments are prepared. The deal, which also covered Office 2003 and Exchange 2003, ended in April and will not be continued into a second year

Apparently all departments had been warned for years that the normal support agreement would stop. The best option for customers now would be to upgrade to a modern system such as Windows 8.1 ensuring delivery of security patches and updates.

For departments such as the London Met Police as well as various hospitals and insurance companies have to deal with getting their own deals with Microsoft or find alternative means of protection.

Software purchased from abroad may be resold

In the case of a Canadian software company and a Dutch buyer, a court has decided that European law applies. The court based it’s ruling on the previous verdict of the European court from July 2012. This provides that when buyers purchase a software licence they automatically purchase the rights of distribution for this software licence. The software producer therefore no longer holds the rights of that licence – even if their national licence agreements state this differently.

Li-x at SAMS 2015

On 23rd and 24th of February IT- and Software-Manager are getting together at the Software Asset Management Strategies 2015 convention in Berlin. And of course, li-x will be there, too. We will be waiting at our booth to answer all of your burning questions regarding used software. Come and visit us for a chat!


We are happy about the continuous interest in li-x. We’ve answered the most pressing questions about our service. You can also find the FAQ on our website:

What is li-x?

li-x is Europe’s first software licence exchange. Companies, institutions, and public authorities trade their software licences here.

How does li-x work?

li-x is based on an automated trading system, which enables our users to sell surplus licences and buy new ones quickly, easily, and legally. The selling function is made available after the licences have undergone our Clearing (see How does the clearing process work?). li-x checks if the prerequisites for a safe and legal trade are fulfilled. After a transaction has been completed, the buyer receives all documents related to the purchased licences. This way, they are prepared for audits, being able to provide proof of the chain of title.

What are the advantages of li-x?

– li-x merges buy and sell orders quickly and fuss-free.
– On li-x, there are no intermediaries. That means companies earn and save more money when selling and buying licences directly with li-x.
– Selling surplus licences generates money and improves the performance of your company.
– The purchase of software licences via li-x pays off too, since used software does not wear down and is inexpensive compared to the newest releases.
– Every user can access important information about their company’s software licences. Find out the current value of your licences, if you have too many or not enough licences, and if the acquisition of used software licences can be refinanced by the sale of licences which are no longer needed.

How much does li-x cost?

During the BETA phase, li-x is free of charge for all users. For buying and selling companies, li-x solely charges a small commission which amounts to 12 percent of the transaction amount.

How does the clearing process work?

In order to make your licences tradeable, they require a legal scan. We call this procedure Clearing; an interactive process between li-x and our clients. You simply upload the legal documents related to the licences you with to sell on li-x. Subsequently, our Clearing unit verifies the accuracy of the documents as well as the licence version and checks whether the prerequisites for the sale are met. Clearing is free of charge. In the case of more complex licence agreements which take more time to go through, we will arrange on an individual Clearing price with you.

How long does Clearing take?

Typically, Clearing will be completed within one day. In case the licence agreements are more complex though, Clearing may take longer.

Is the trade with li-x legal?

Generally, used software can be sold and resold again within the EU and Switzerland. According to the European Court of Justice, converse remarks in licence agreements are ineffectual. For the sale to be legal, a number of requirements have to be met. A.) Your company must have acquired indefinite general rights of use over the software. B.) Your company must have paid the usage fees for the software completely. C.) Your company must have made the software unusable, so that it can no longer be used by you after it has been sold.
If all of these conditions are met, your licences are considered “cleared”. The licences listed on li-x now possess information, not only about its initial owner, but also about the contract numbers of licences from volume contracts. The chain of title is, therefore, easily accessible and ensures you are prepared for software audits. Sales and purchases made on li-x conform to the current European judicature and common compliance requirements for IT.

How does li-x generate the market price?

li-x calculates the licence prices like a stock market; the market price is determined by supply and demand. As a seller, you enter a minimum price with your software offer and place your sell order. As a buyer, you simply place your order with the desired quantity of licenses and a maximum price. Then our “trading engine” calculates the current market price, based on the desired amount, the minimum price and the maximum price. For products with no demand, li-x sets a list price which is based on common market prices.

How do I most strategically set my maximum price?

Setting the maximum price depends on the current price, the latest price alteration, and the trend. If the trend and the latest price alteration are negative then it is reasonable to assume that a lower price will find a buyer. Moreover, the maximum price depends on the urgency of the purchase. If the purchase is urgent, the buying price should be higher than the current price, since the highest buying price takes priority on li-x.

As a seller, how do I set the best selling price?

Determining the minimum price depends on the current price, the latest price alteration, and the trend. If the trend and the latest price alteration are positive, then it is reasonable to assume that a higher price will find a buyer. Moreover, the maximum price depends on the urgency of the sale. If the sale is urgent, the selling price should be lower than the current price, since the seller with a lower price is more likely to sell their licences first.

Can I edit the minimum or the maximum price after they have been set?

If the order has not been processed yet, or only partially, you can still edit the minimum and maximum price. All you need to do is cancel the order and place a new one with the changed values for minimum and maximum price. This is not possible for orders which have already been completed.

What happens during the engine run exactly?

During the engine run, our trading engine calculates the price at which the highest quantity of licences can be traded. This ensures that as many of the placed buy and sell orders as possible can be realized.

When does the engine run take place?

The engine run takes place once a day, at 8:00 PM (GMT). Once the trading activity increases on li-x, we will shorten the intervals so that trade is possible several times a day.

Will each order be completed?

Each order will be completed, as long as supply and demand cohere.

What happens if my order is only partially completed?

If your order is only partially completed, the rest of the order remains on li-x and will be reconsidered in the next engine run.

How do I know if my order has been completed?

When an order has been completed, you will receive a status message informing you of the process of your order. You can also go to ‘My Orders’ and see whether your order has been completed.

Who activates the sell and buy orders?

Only an authorised representative can activate sell and buy orders. An authorised representative is a user who has received advanced rights from the administrator. The regular user may place an order, but for it to become active the order must be approved by an authorized representative. If you’re an administrator, you can change the statuses of users in the menu point ‘Settings – User management’.

How much time do I need to invest in li-x?

li-x does most of the work for you. With a minor time investment, you can sell and buy software licences: an order can be placed in just four clicks. The gathering of licences is easy, logical, and quick. It may take some time to provide the documents needed for the verification of the chain of title, but once the documents have been processed, you can access them in a mouse-click and be more prepared for audits.

Used e-books may continue to be resold

A court in Amsterdam has come to a decision in a case between second-hand e-books plattform “Tom Kabinet” and the Dutch publisher’s union. Used e-books may continue to be resold. However, there are some restrictions.

E-book-reseller have to make sure that the e-books they offer originate from legal sources. Judges are afraid that online marketplaces such as “Tom Kabinet” could be misused for money laundering. “Tom Kabinet” was not able to fully state where their e-books came from. The publisher’s union had therefore accused Tom Kabinet of dealing with e-books from illegal sources.

German Federal Court’s verdict confirms resale of used and split volume licences

The Federal Court of Germany has rejected Adobe’s appeal and has hereby confirmed the Euroepan Court’s verdict: used volume licences may be split and resold seperately.


1. How did this verdict come about?

In 2012, a verdict of a Frankfurt court (Az. 11 U 68/11) already liberated the trade of used software based on the European Court’s verdict. Software producer Adobe’s appeal against this verdict was fully rejected by the German Federal Court.

2. Licences from from volume contracts may be resold individually

There is no prohibition for licences that have been purchased within a volume contract (– except Client-Server licences).

3. The verdict also applies for reduced software programmes such as educational licences

Even used educational licences may be resold.

4. Software purchased online may be traded second-hand even if the software producer excludes this from its licence contract.

In July 2012, the European Court already decided that software producers’ distribution rights expire as soon as the software is sold for the first time, regardless what the form of distribution is. Software producer’s cannot defy a later re-sale of the licence even if the contract should prohibit this.

Owners may resell the software. A second buyer is allowed to even purchase software updates from the producer.

5. Things, to consider when buying used software

The European Court has explicitly stated, which legal preliminaries have to be complied when selling used software.

The copy of the programme has been distributed in the EU or Switzerland with the producer’s approval.

It is a fully purchased not rented copy.

The first buyer has to delete the remaining samples before selling the copy to a new buyer.

The user must be able to prove via the chain of rights that he/she has the right to use this licence.

Used Software is booming

Demand for used software is constantly growing. This is evident in the increasing amount of orders on Since our launch in March our offers have for the first time exceeded the 500.000 Euro benchmark. People currently looking to buy software for their company, can save a lot of money with used licences. There is a big market filled with inexpensive used Windows-operating systems, various Office versions, Project- and application programmes as well as current servers.

A truly great buy: Microsoft Office 2010 Standard volume licences for only 146.00 Euros plus 12 per cent commission. Therefore the current rate on li-x is 10 per cent lower than some of the competitors’ prices.

Current rate of the day: Office 2010 Standard volume licence:


SAP’s reactivation fee illegal

After a previous case with a software reseller, software company SAP is again forced to give in to another resellers lawsuit. A court in Düsseldorf decided that SAP is no longer allowed to ask users for a reactivation fee for their licences. SAP has to delete the concerning paragraph from their terms and conditions. The verdict protects especially users of used software as they now no longer run the risk of being overcharged with unforeseeable costs.

Best new ways into the Adobe Cloud

Ever since Adobe changed their ways of distribution, Photoshop and other products can only be rented. The software producer lures existing customers with discounts, for example when they are willing to switch from a purchased Creative Suite (CS3 onwards) to the new cloud model. The purchased licence expires when the customer accepts the discount offer. But there is an even more lucrative alternative for companies: Don’t accept the discount and sell their used software.

For example: The annual rent for CS6 – without discount – is 840 euros. When selling the used Adobe licence on li-x at the daily rate, which is currently 1300 euros, the monthly price would be reduced to 22,30 euros. The 300 euro discount offered by Adobe only reduces the monthly price from 69,99 euros to 49,99 euros per month.

Start of a new software future

li-x: Europe’s first software exchange market has started

From now on, companies can sell the software they no longer use or buy cheap used software on li-x. Supply and demand are calculated every day and determine the daily price. The rate is as transparent as it is at the stock market. Since there is no intermediary trade companies are able to save a lot of money. Legal safety is secured via a clearing process and via a detailed documentation of authenticity and rights.


li-x was developed to bring together companies with needs for buying and selling software. It is a young start-up venture based in Hamburg.

This is how li-x-CEO, Boris Vöge, describes the idea: “We want to revolutionise the software market. Companies are no longer dependent on software producers and their monopoly. This way they can find more budget-friendly solutions. At the same time li-x is a platform, which offers a secure, legal and lucrative way to trade used software.”

Uncertainty regarding legality of used software

It has been official since the European Court’s verdict in 2012: trading used software is legal. However, some users are still unsure about the legality of reselling used software. This was the result of an Austrian survey, which stated that 72 per cent of Austrian IT-professionals are aware that used software itself was legal but 28 per cent where confused whether used software trade was really safe. One out of ten IT-professionals had even been told by software producers that reselling software was illegal.