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Updates and Announcements

New content and site changes are announced here, including new document checklists and clauses of the day.  New clauses, checklists and agreement analyses are posted frequently.  Check back or subscribe to the news feed below for regular updates.

Updates starting in September 2011 can be viewed on this page.  Clauses of the day prior to September 2011 can be viewed in the Daily Clause Archive.

Annoucement--Software Maintenance and Support

posted Apr 3, 2014, 7:13 AM by Kingsley Martin

The software maintenance and support clause in Software License Agreements defines the level of technical assistance and updates services provided as part of the software. Agreements may provide for:

  1. Support: technical assistance regarding the use of the software, and
  2. Maintenance: provision of upgrades and fixes to correct faults, to improve performance, or to add features.

There is not a standard clause. The terms are highly variable and case-specific. In general, fewer services are available for low cost or free licenses; more support is provided for commercial licenses. The terms may be included in the license agreement or a separate maintenance and support agreement.

The New ContractStandards

posted Dec 10, 2013, 8:00 AM by Kingsley Martin   [ updated Jan 9, 2014, 8:07 AM ]

We are proud to announce our new Clause Library Web Application.  This new interface lets users navigate our Unified Contract Structure with ease.  The lean design also makes our Library easily accessible from your desktop, smartphone, or tablet.  Over the next few months, we will integrate this new design into ContractStandards.com, giving users better access to the same quality clause analysis.

We are also very excited about new products we plan to offer in Q1 2014, including sophisticated document assembly tools that allow you to customize model forms and contract audit features that let you compare your contracts with hundreds of EDGAR contracts instantly.  With these new features, users will be able to draft and review NDA's, Employment Agreements, etc faster than ever.  We will be rolling these features out for beta testing in the next few months.

Please follow us on Twitter: @KStandards

Revisions to the Unified Contract Structure

posted May 17, 2013, 5:20 AM by Kingsley Martin

The Unified Contract Structure will be revised with two main adjustments: the introduction of an acknowledgements section and the regrouping of the remedies section to include rights and remedies related to claims arising from the agreement, including damages, specific performance and indemnities.

1. Acknowledgements. In many agreements provisions stipulating the parties acceptance of certain facts and circumstances are found in may different sections of the agreement. For example, in a non-disclosure agreement, an acknowledgement of ownership of property may be included as a separate clause, a statement regarding the reasonableness of restrictions may be included in the covenants, while an acknowledgement that each party will pay is own expenses may be found in the general provisions. Grouping all the acknowledgments into one section adds clarity. The acknowledgements work closely with the representations and covenants. Representations and covenants cover statements and promises within the control or interest of the party making the assertion, while acknowledgements capture stipulations regarding certain facts or circumstances, such as ownership vesting in another person, that the parties agree not to contest.

2. Remedies. Over the course of the next few weeks, ContractStandards will substantially revise the remedies section to include all terms regarding the rights, remedies, and procedures in the event of breach or failure of the agreement. The revisions will first address indemnities.

Confidentiality Standard of Care Clause

posted May 10, 2013, 8:34 AM by Kingsley Martin

The Standard of Care clause defines the level of protection that the receiving party must use to protect the disclosed confidential information. Typically, the agreement requires the recipient to treat the disclosed information in the same manner as it treats its own confidential information, provided that such standard may not be less than "reasonable care." A few agreements require a higher standards, such as "strict confidence" or the "highest standard of care." However, such higher standards may not be attainable or practicable.

Marking Clause

posted May 6, 2013, 6:14 AM by Kingsley Martin   [ updated May 6, 2013, 6:15 AM ]

The marking clause in a confidentiality agreement defines whether information must bear an indication of confidentiality, such as a stamp or header stating: "Private and Confidential."

Marking requirements can have both advantages and disadvantages for both sides. On one hand, it provides clarity. On the other, it may fail to protect information that inadvertently is not marked. In order to protect inadvertent disclosure the clause may provide for "catch-up" marking, permitting the disclosing party to retroactively mark material within a reasonable or specified time period following disclosure.

A marking clause is uncommon. When used it has three main variants: marking is not required; marking is required, and marking may be applied if practicable.

Remedies Cumulative

posted Oct 17, 2012, 2:10 PM by Kingsley Martin

The remedies cumulative clause typically states that the nonbreaching party to a contract is allowed to pursue any and all remedies that may be available under the facts of the dispute, even though some of those remedies may be inconsistent with each other.

The modern day general rule—applied by most states—is that all remedies, whether at common law, under statute, under equitable principles, are cumulative. This general rule applies only in the absence of specific contractual provisions to the contrary. A party’s intent to limit cumulative remedies must be clear.

Daily Clause--Indemnification (License Agreement)

posted Oct 9, 2012, 8:44 AM by Kingsley Martin

In the context of a licensing agreement, an indemnification clause generally indemnifies a licensee against costs arising out of the licensee’s use of a licensor’s software. However, in some instances an agreement will call for the licensee to indemnify the licensor. The identity of the indemnifying party will typically be determined by the terms of the agreement (whether the license is free or paid, etc.) and the bargaining power of the parties involved.

While state contract law generally protects the licensee in most jurisdictions, the parties will want to expand or modify these provisions to define explicitly the protections and obligations for each party.

Clause Analysis--Inventions Assignment Agreement

posted Sep 19, 2012, 12:01 PM by Kingsley Martin   [ updated Sep 19, 2012, 12:01 PM ]

Starting work on an Inventions Assignment Agreement. The initial clause analysis indicates a high degree of variation. Is this due the specific circumstances of each situation? Or, in the same manner as other employment related agreements, does it simply reflect broad divergence in opinion and preferences.

Daily Clause--Force Majeure

posted Sep 18, 2012, 7:37 AM by Kingsley Martin

A “force majeure” clause (French for “superior force”) is a contract provision that allows a party to suspend or terminate the performance of its obligations when certain circumstances beyond their control arise, making performance inadvisable, commercially impracticable, illegal, or impossible.  The provision may state that the contract is temporarily suspended, or that it is terminated if the event of force majeure continues for a prescribed period of time.

Daily Clause--Headings; Construction

posted Sep 17, 2012, 12:01 PM by Kingsley Martin

A Headings and/or Construction clause in the general provisions section of an agreement acts as an interpretive aid in the event of a dispute over the terms of the contract. A typical Headings clause states that the headings and captions used throughout the agreement are for reference purposes only and should not have any effect on the interpretation. However, you ca use the captions as the basis of a checklist when viewing the table of contents of an agreement. (See, Contract Checklists-does sequence matter?).

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