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Many people assume that the term ‘perpetual’ would be given its natural meaning of never ending when used in a contract. However in the relatively recent case of BMS Computer Solutions v AB Agri, it was held that the word 'perpetual' in a software licence can have different meanings depending on the circumstances. It could mean:
never ending, ie incapable of being bought to an end, or
operating without a specific limit of time (ie of indefinite duration) until either party exercised their rights set out in the contract to terminate the agreement
In BMS, when considering the meaning of the word ‘perpetual’ in a given context, the court held that in that particular circumstance:
‘… it can mean “operating without limit of time” (so as, in the context of Cl 4(a) of the Variation Agreement, to grant a licence of indefinite duration, but subject to any contractual provisions governing termination of the licence)…’
In this particular case, it was held
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