Legal position

Regardless of whether you work in the IT industry, run a company or act as a private individual, a sound knowledge of the legal situation creates a solid basis for informed decisions in the digital world. At MRM Distribution we are familiar with the current rulings of the ECJ and BGH on the subject of software licenses.

Trading in used software is legally compliant

The purchase and sale of unused software licenses is legally compliant. Many companies are still unsure today due to a lack of information, although there has been validation from the highest authority for trading in used licenses for years:

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) have decided that trading in used IT products is legal.

This was regulated by the judgments of the European Court of Justice of July 03.07.2012, 128 (C-11/17.07.2013) and the Federal Court of Justice of July 129, 08 (I ZR XNUMX/XNUMX). They determine a clear framework for trading used software licenses; The principle of copyright applies here: software products – analogous to literary works – are fundamentally worth protecting. However, once they have been purchased, no further consent from the author is required for further trading. Just as this is not the case when reselling a book - see also our FAQs on the principle of exhaustion.

It is important for MRM Distribution customers to know that all necessary evidence will be provided. As an experienced, trustworthy distributor, MRM Distribution guarantees its partners' end customers reliable audit security in order to 100% meet the requirements of the legislator and the manufacturers. This means: License sales via MRM are absolutely secured through a professional risk and vulnerability analysis.

EU original software

Original software first circulated in the EU economic area enjoys the benefit of exhaustion of distribution rights, legalizing resale within that territory.

Volume license trading

Legal trading also extends to split volume licenses, allowing companies and individuals to purchase or sell only a portion of the licenses that they actually need.

Software deletion

This measure ensures that no personal or company information is inadvertently shared and supports compliance with data protection regulations.

Further content on the subject of the legal situation

In addition to underlicensing, overlicensing, i.e. the presence of many unused licenses, is particularly common in companies. Selling used software safely is so easy.

Here you will find further information from the manufacturer Microsoft about the legal trade in used software.



Legal compliance or not, many customers and partners of the manufacturers are quite skeptical, as the manufacturers generally do not proactively comment on this topic.

Microsoft now has one Dedicated page on the topic of “acquiring software legally” with a special point for the sale and use of used software.

Incidentally, Microsoft first took a position on the admissibility of the distribution and use of used software and the associated licenses in an official letter from the legal department in November 2015.

Read the Microsoft LCA statement on used software from November 2015 here.

At the end of March 2018, Microsoft issued another official letter to educate customers and partners, which should also help to distinguish illegal offers from numerous providers on the Internet from used software that can be traded legally.

Read the Microsoft LCA Statement from 2018 here.

In addition, as of June 1, 2021, Microsoft has the The adjustment made to its product conditions has been revoked. This allows corporate customers to sell their licenses that they no longer need to MRM Distribution without losing their right to “from SA” offers.