At 10:51 AM 2/18/2004, Robert Ritchey wrote:
I am looking for a 99SE license. Since I have not done this before, does
anyone know what documentation Protel requires to prove to them I bought
the license to qualify for future upgrades if we decide (its getting so expensive
and so many features we really don't need I am not sure of this)?

I've been travelling or I'd have answered sooner.

First of all, *before* you send a seller any money, unless you know and trust the seller, and even then it is a good idea, verify that the license is transferable. Given the license number and the seller's name (sometimes it's a company name, in which case there will typically be a contact person), Protel (Altium) sales will verify that the license is both owned by the seller *and* is a transferable license. Not all legitimate licenses are transferable. The most common exception is a license which has been used for upgrade; Altium considers such a license as having been subsumed into the new license, and not as separately transferable.

While it would be difficult for Altium to prosecute someone for copyright infringement who purchased an upgraded license, Altium grants upgrade privileges at will, so the value of such a license, at best, is greatly reduced. At worst, to buy it would be to buy a legal nightmare.

All license transfers, under the current license, must be approved by Altium. It is understood that they will not unreasonably deny approval; however, they do restrict transfers of licenses purchased under certain kinds of discounts, or licenses given without fee, as, for example, licenses given to Altium employees.

To recognise a license transfer, Altium will want to see a document showing that the license has been sold or otherwise transferred to the new owner. Typically they prefer to contact the seller themselves to confirm the intention of transfer. We do know of one case, however, where a new owner obtained the license from bankruptcy court, and Altium did accept the change of ownership. In other words, if the new owner can provide evidence satisfactory to Altium of the ownership right, they will make the transfer even without the explicit approval of the seller. I'm sure they don't want to get embroiled in legal disputes, so any such proof should be quite clear.

They have also wanted a document from the seller stating that the seller has not retained copies of the software. This is part of the routine of my own license transfers, it is in the contract of sale.

There can be a certain risk in buying and selling licenses; in particular, consider what would happen if you sent the funds to the seller, and they were received, and then the seller goes incommunicado, for whatever reason. My own sale contracts provide that proof of payment may be used to effect the transfer, I would not suggest sending an unknown seller funds without such an agreement in writing, and, since a person can disappear, for a time or forever, it is a good idea even if the seller is known.

A license transfer is the transfer of an intangible. The actual CD and manual are not particularly significant; possession of them does not prove that the holder has a legitimate license, and a registered license holder can get the CD (and access codes) from Altium without charge. I sold a license recently, and could not find the original CD and license codes. It was not a problem for the buyer. I did have a manual, which I sent him, but even if I had not, all the manuals are available as PDF, the physical book is a convenience, not a necessity. Protel used to sell the 99SE manual for $90; I don't know the current price (if it is still available).

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