SaaS Agreements – Heads of Terms – Entire Agreement Clause

Heads of terms are often by SaaS suppliers where the final terms of the SaaS agreement have not yet been fully agreed with the SaaS customer. By using heads of terms the SaaS supplier can start to provide the SaaS services to the SaaS customer. However sometimes the parties are unaware of, or overlook, the legal implications and dangers of using heads of terms prior to finalising the terms of the SaaS agreement.

A recent court case in the UK highlights these problems.

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SaaS Agreements – Terms and Conditions – Risk Assessment

SaaS customers often complain that the security provisions in SaaS agreements are inadequate and lack transparency. Following a risk assessment, often using external auditors and regulators, SaaS customers often ask SaaS suppliers to add numerous additional terms and warranties to their SaaS terms. By including the security provisions set out below in your standard SaaS agreement, SaaS suppliers can avoid having more rigorous provisions imposed upon them.

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SaaS Agreements – Legal Requirements – Online SaaS Sales

SaaS suppliers making online sales of SaaS services to business customers in the UK need to ensure that they have the necessary legal documents and information available on their website to comply with English law. Simply having a SaaS agreement online will not cover all legal obligations in the UK when providing SaaS services online. Below is a summary of the documents and information that you should have available on a UK website.

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SaaS Agreements – Terms and Conditions – Safe Harbor Adequacy

European data protection authorities have recently raised serious reservations about the effectiveness of the safe harbour scheme and its ability to adequately protect SaaS customer data to the same standard as European data protection laws. If you are a SaaS supplier and are considering/or are already using a company located in the US to provide part of your SaaS services i.e. for hosting, you should be aware of the existence and limitations of the safe harbor scheme.

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SaaS Agreements – SLAs – Business Continuity and Escrow Agents

SaaS customers are increasingly asking for disaster recover provisions to be included within the terms of a SaaS agreement to ensure that they have access to their data and continuity of service if a problem arises at the SaaS supplier’s data centre. The costs of providing disaster recovery used to be prohibitive, due to the requirement of having mirrored servers and transferring data, however there is now a new market opening up with former escrow providers offering a variety of disaster recovery options at affordable prices.

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SaaS Agreements – Confidential Information – FOIA and SARs

SaaS suppliers are increasingly dealing with subject access requests (SARs) and freedom of information requests (FOIAs) in relation to SaaS customers. Excessive time and costs can be spent dealing with such requests, unless a SaaS supplier’s obligation to comply with or assist a SaaS customer with such requests is clearly defined in the terms of the SaaS agreement.

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SaaS Agreements – Terms and Conditions – Renegotiating Terms

Customers are increasingly attempting to renegotiate the terms of existing SaaS agreements, to reduce costs as more SaaS suppliers enter the market offering competing and cheaper SaaS services. In order to pre-empt such discussions SaaS suppliers should review their current SaaS agreements to ensure that they have the following terms in place to deal with and counter such requests.

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SaaS Agreements – Terms & Conditions – Insolvency and ERRA

From April 2014 the UK government plans to change the Insolvency Act under the provisions of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERRA). This will make the SaaS supplier’s right to terminate or alter the terms of an existing SaaS agreement if a SaaS customer becomes insolvent. From this data no SaaS agreement may be terminated or have the pricing and payment terms changed due to a customer’s insolvency. Furthermore the SaaS supplier must continue to provide SaaS services without receiving any payment or having any right to arrears.

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SaaS Agreements – Social Media – Ownership of Accounts

Increasingly SaaS suppliers encourage employees to use social media accounts i.e. LinkedIn and Twitter to promote their products and business. However this often results in a conflict arising between claims of misuse of confidential information and “ownership” of accounts and contacts when the employment relationship comes to an end.

The High Court has recently highlighted the need for SaaS suppliers to have a clear policy on the ownership of such social media accounts and contacts when they are used by employees for business purposes.

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SaaS Agreements – IPR – Software Patents

The issue of software patents has recently been highlighted by a proposal to change German patent and copyright law. The proposal recommends preventing computer software being registered as a patent, arguing that computer software should only be protected using copyright law, as this is sufficient to protect a software developer’s rights. In light of the current German proposal, below is a brief summary of patent and copyright law in relation to SaaS software in the UK, Germany and non-EU countries.

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