I don't have an easy way to access the 2004 license [...]
I dug up the license. I believe I was correct. I'd think this was the misunderstood provision.
"In the event that User has previously purchased a license to an earlier version of Licensed Materials being licensed hereunder, then for such transfer to be effective, any and all prior versions and parts thereof licensed by User must be transferred."
I don't find any other mention of prior versions in the End-User License Agreement.
The key word is "transfer." This provision is about license transfers. You don't see provisions like this in many other CAD licenses because they don't permit transfers. Altium still does. It is saying that you can't sell the 2004 license unless you also sell all prior licenses. It is poorly worded. For example, what if you purchased two 99SE licenses and one P2004 license? The language could seem to prohibit you from selling your 2004 license together with one of the 99SE licenses, you would have to transfer both.
You pay through the nose for lawyers, and this is what they produce, all too often. A mess. And then the lawyers get to make more money when you try to enforce an unclear provision, or to write a better one....
The intention, I'm sure, is to consider an *upgrade* as a single license together with the version from which it was upgraded. Unfortunately, whoever was writing that license provision didn't think about multiple licenses. I'd say a clarification from Altium would be in order....
This is the situation, I think, that they are trying to prohibit with this provision. I have a Protel 99SE license. I buy the 2004 upgrade for $3495 (including Nanoboard). Since that is being sold for $7995 by Altium, I might turn around and sell my 2004 license to someone for, say, $6000. $2500 profit just like that. (The $6000 price is realistic.) However, Altium might refuse to recognize the sale unless I warrant that I am selling the 99SE license with it.
I think it is an unnecessary complication. If Altium did not prohibit the practice, it is merely that the *upgrade* right of a 99SE license would be worth $2500 in *addition* to its usage value (perhaps $2500 itself?). This would do little or no harm to Altium, really, and a new user would be gained, who would presumably be in line for further upgrades, etc. Existing policy would already prohibit the 99SE user from upgrading again, that 99SE license would be marked as having been used once for upgrade and it would not be eligible again.
With the policy, however (and I think this policy did start with 99SE, though the license language may have been a little different), the total resale value of the 99SE license is $2500.
I think it was bad policy, though I'm not exactly a disinterested party. (I've bought and sold quite a few licenses). It would have been simpler and more in the users' interests if upgrade rights and usage rights were severable. (There would have been no need for the new license language.) If you legitimately owned a 99SE license, you could use it, and the license would include an upgrade right. (Upgrade rights, by the way, are not guaranteed in the license, they are merely a practice voluntarily engaged in by Altium and could be discontinued or restricted at any time, legally. Unwise, perhaps, but legal.) If you use the upgrade right and then sell the upgrade for whatever you can get for it, what has Altium lost? I do know that it has gained the upgrade price and a new user, the possible losses are much more speculative. *If* the new user would have purchased the license anyway, then they might have "lost" $2000. But more likely the new user will look for another used license for sale, and, in the interim, might decide on a different CAD system.... In which case, Altium would have lost $3495 plus future upgrade revenue.
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