Structuring Commercial Agreements for New Product and Service Deployment: Customer Collaboration Agreements and Pilot Programs

Crafting Terms and Conditions on Data Use and Ownership, IP Rights, Confidentiality, Incentives, Reporting, Termination and More

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A


Conducted on Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Recorded event now available

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Program Materials

This CLE webinar will provide guidance to business and technology counsel on drafting beta test, pilot program and feedback agreements for the development and deployment of new products and services, including software. The panel will examine the most critical provisions in these agreements, as well as the issues and concerns that counsel should address during contract negotiations to effectively mitigate risk.

Description

As companies prioritize speed to market with new products and services, particularly new technologies or software offerings, commercial and technology counsel face increased requests from business clients to solicit customer feedback or test products in the market earlier than ever. Agreements for these customer engagements can take several forms and involve unique risks.

Customer collaboration agreements, often used for software applications, allow customers or other third parties to test software in the final development stages but before commercial release, and they provide businesses with the opportunity to gather and use the customer feedback. Customers can provide input into all aspects of the release, whether technically focused on functionality or related to the look and feel, ease of use, or other aspects of the software, service or product.

Further, pilot programs allow temporary use of a newly issued product or service to potential customers so they can experience the product's value proposition, with the intent of a subsequent commercial commitment. A structured pilot program with clear success parameters can be integral to establishing buzz in the marketplace around a new product.

However, several legal issues arise with these agreements, including scope of the license grant for this temporary use, how feedback may be gathered and used, ownership of any resulting intellectual property, and confidentiality. Similarly, however, lack of clarity around scope, failure to carefully define termination of the pilot and the parties' respective rights and responsibilities, and confidentiality concerns can derail a pilot's efficacy for the product owner.

Listen as our experienced panel of practitioners examines the potential opportunities of customer collaboration agreements and how to draft them to guard against the risks resulting from misalignment with the business' commercial objectives, lack of clarity in drafting, and challenges in enforcing terms of the agreements.

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Outline

  1. Beta test, pilot programs, and feedback agreements—similarities and differences
  2. Risk factors associated with agreement parameters and enforcement
  3. Best practices for minimizing risk

Benefits

The panel will review these and other issues:

  • Types of pre-commercialization agreements for obtaining feedback on new products, services and software
  • Legal risks posed in feedback, beta testing, and pilot arrangements
  • Drafting tips to minimize legal and commercial risks

Faculty

Nguyen, Huu
Huu Nguyen

Partner
Squire Patton Boggs

Mr. Nguyen is a deal lawyer, focusing his practice on commercial and corporate transactions in the technology and media...  |  Read More

Stephen C. Mann
Stephen C. Mann

Senior Associate
Baker Botts

Mr. Mann’s practice principally focuses on the representation of technology and service industry companies and...  |  Read More

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