Software Escrow

Software Escrow

Software Escrow

Placing software in safekeeping

Protection for developer and client alike

Protect your software by placing it in reliable hands. swissEscrow ensures that you or a third party can have access to it when the situation so demands. The conditions under which that can happen are defined by you.

swissEscrow guarantees that those conditions will be respected.

Protecting your software is crucial to the success of your company.

Placing your software in safekeeping

Software Escrow is the placing in safekeeping of program source code of a software package, usually along with the corresponding development documents. These items are entrusted to a neutral third party, the so-called escrow agent. The escrow agent is only authorised to release software entrusted to them under conditions laid down in advance.

Software Escrow offers guaranteed security for the long-term availability of technical know-how.

Every piece of software has its own underlying source code. This source code is the key to any modification which needs to be made to the software. Without access to the source code, it is impossible to update the software. Since so much importance attaches to the source code, software developers insist that they alone should have knowledge of it.

Why is software escrow necessary?

The fact that source code is the software developer’s trade secret gives rise to conflicting interests between the developer and their client. So long as the contractual relationship between the developer and the client remains intact, that conflict of interests does not present a problem.

But what happens if the software development company is sold, ceases trading or goes into bankruptcy, or when the software in question can for some other reason no longer be updated?

The client may well have invested a lot of money in acquiring the software in question. This is money which cannot be recouped when the software package is no longer maintained and updated and cannot be reconstructed.

 The software developer would like to protect their technology, their know-how and their copyrights, and not simply divulge them to the client. The client, on the other hand, wants to be sure that the software and knowledge they have purchased remains available to them for the long term, particularly in the case where software developer for whatever reason ceases trading and access to critical data and know-how becomes lost. 

Software Escrow takes the interests of both the developer and the client into consideration.

Advantages for the software developer

  • They can offer their clients a guarantee.
  • They can protect their own trade secrets and intellectual property rights (copyright).
  • They can protect their software against unauthorised use, copying and distribution.

Advantages for the client

  • They are protected against a possible failure of the software developers.
  • They have access to the source code in the case that the developer ceases trading.
  • They can rest assured that the software can be continuously maintained and developed.
  • They protect the investment they have made in IT.
  • They reduce their dependence on the software developer.
  • Business risk is reduced.

If the source code and/or the corresponding documents are placed in safekeeping at swissEscrow, they can be released to the client under certain pre-defined conditions.