4 Jan 2021



Used Software

How companies benefit and save from audit-proof used software

For Instance, you have an offer for used software licences that were not originally sold by the manufacturer within the European legal area, this is most likely not audit-proof. If you nevertheless decide to do so, you automatically buy into the risk of high penalties. Why are complete and transparent proofs of origin a central criterion for legal use of second hand software? what other considerations should you have when trading second hand software? How does PREO guarantee you 100 percent audit security? Find out more in this blog post.

From which sources do traders obtain used software licences?

A lively trade in licence keys is flourishing on the internet, and it is usually completely unclear where they come from and how often they have already been used. Time and again, keys appear that have been artificially created by hackers by copying the manufacturer's algorithms. For companies in particular, it is therefore important to buy used software licences only from experienced and reputable traders who obtain their products from absolutely reliable sources with audited and completely transparent licence chains. 

As a pioneer in the trade with used software, PREO guarantees you one hundred percent audit security of all products. The used software licences originate from transparent sources and come exclusively from the EU. 

PREO buys used software from companies that no longer need their licences for a variety of reasons. These include for example

  • the downsizing of departments or restructuring,

  • over-licensing,

  • migration projects,

  • switching to new versions or open source software,

  • conversion to cloud offerings and rental models or 
  • insolvencies

Wherever the used software was previously in use, we always check the receipts of the first purchase and obtain written confirmation of the deletion of the software on the seller's computer.


Avoid anonymous or non-European internet traders or "dream offers" on sales platforms. There is a high probability that you will receive licence keys that should not be sold. The following picture describes it well: A licence key is like a flat key. You can get into the flat with it, but that does not mean that the flat belongs to you or that others do not have the same key. A key does not automatically include the right to use it

Used software only with completely transparent origin

At PREO, your security is the focus when buying used software. We ensure that all information on the origin of the used software is transparent and that the necessary proof is available. This starts with the disclosure of the rights chain. For each licence you purchase from us, you receive precise information about

  • who the previous owners were by name,

  • what type of licence agreement the software came from and

  • what the contract numbers are.

Especially important: You will also receive a written statement that the used software has been properly uninstalled by the previous owner. This is one of the most important legal requirements and is expressly demanded by both the Federal Court of Justice and the European Court of Justice. 

This is what you should consider when buying or selling used software licences

When buying or selling used software in the European market, the following criteria are decisive and their observance is indispensable so that all software licences are transferred in a legally secure manner, a manufacturer audit is mastered without any problems and a resale is possible at any time:                    

  1. The software was placed on the market in the territory of the EU or another contracting state of the European Economic Area (EEA) at the time of first sale with the consent of the manufacturer. Used software licences that someone in Europe wants to sell to you must not originally come from Asia, Africa, the USA or South America.

  2. The software licences are perpetual and the licence chain, including security patches and updates, is fully and completely documented.

  3. All previous owners of the used software licences must have demonstrably permanently deleted their respective copies on their computers

Used software for hospital operators and companies in the health sector

Cost pressure, data protection, compliance guidelines - the demands in the healthcare sector and especially on hospital operations are high. In this interview, you can read how Christian Schmidt, Managing Director of Asklepios IT-Services, found a legally compliant and scalable solution with used software from PREO and thus achieved a 50 percent saving. Click here to go to the download area.

The healthcare group Asklepios is one of the leading private operators of hospitals and healthcare facilities in Germany. The group currently operates around 160 health care facilities across Germany and employs more than 47,000 employees. Over 2 million patients are treated in Asklepios Group facilities every year.

Your PREO advantages when trading with used software

Are you looking for a strong experienced partner who can provide you with a comprehensive understanding of licensing laws when trading used software licences as well as advice in the areas of SAM management? Then PREO is the right partner for you! We offer you:

  • Personal advice on all questions concerning licence transactions or the integration of used software licences in a hybrid software architecture with cloud combination. 

  • Legal and audit-proof licence acquisition with maximum transparency of all processing steps. We have traded over a million used software licences and we have never had a licence not pass an audit.

  • The capacity to manage large software projects with thousands of workstations and different locations.

  • The experience of 15 years in the European trade with pre-owned software and the innovative power of a pioneer in a young, dynamic market environment.

  • Added value in terms of security and efficient documentation: We store all important information on each individual licence online for you in our customer licence portal. This means that software audits no longer require a great deal of effort.

Still not convinced? Then you should take a look at our reference projects for numerous well-known companies.

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