You can still buy Autodesk perpetual licenses in Europe

You can still buy Autodesk perpetual licenses in Europe

Yes, you really can still buy Autodesk perpetual licenses in the European Union. You just can’t buy them from Autodesk.

Where can you buy those licenses? From other customers who don’t need them any more. Unlike some jurisdictions, the EU respects the doctrine of first sale for computer software. This means sale of pre-owned software is allowed, and any EULA restrictions attempting to prevent that are invalid. This was established in 2012 by the EU’s highest court, The Court of Justice for the European Union (CJEU) in the case of UsedSoft v Oracle.

Autodesk and all other software vendors in EU countries have to respect that, so the perpetual license remains valid after transfer to the new owner. The previous owner must be able to document the validity of the license and must delete or disable their copy of the software upon transfer.

While I have no personal experience of the transfer process, according to what’s being said in this CGTalk thread*, it’s all very easy. Fill out a form and you’re done. However, I suggest you contact your local Autodesk office for the details. Don’t bother to ask AVA, she doesn’t know.

I’m no EU lawyer, but my reading of the judgement is that Autodesk is not obliged to transfer any maintenance contracts along with the perpetual license (clause 66). It is, however, obliged to consider the software to be upgraded to the original owner’s level under any maintenance arrangements (clause 67). This means the software license will be permanently stuck on the last activated release prior to the sale. Companies with a single license permitting use by 50 users and who want to shed 20 of them can’t split off and sell those 20 (clause 69). Again, check with your local Autodesk office for confirmation.

If you’ve been through this process, please comment on your experiences for the benefit of others.

Software licenses within the EU are valid in all EU countries, so it would appear there is nothing preventing, say, a German buying a used AutoCAD license from the UK, at least until Brexit is complete. It is unlikely that an EU license will be legally valid outside the EU, as outside Europe Autodesk only permits license transfers under certain circumstances described here.

It’s interesting that this market for perpetual licenses exists, but Autodesk has locked itself out of its own market! Indeed, by ending the sale of perpetual licenses, Autodesk has made them a rarer and more valuable commodity.


  1. Chris


    Re Acad Arch. 20102:

    What is your national residency, and what is the seller’s national residency?

    I’d like to do this as living in the USA.

    Thanx … Chris

  2. Niv

    I would like to request that if anyone here knows about someone that is willing to transfer Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite (in prefrence to newer version with maintenance) please inform me here with a message.
    Thanks in advance

  3. Legos

    Err I thought the whole reason Autodesk went to rental was exactly because of this type of back room sale. They went with the whole rental route because it protects their business and you the customer. I don’t agree with their practice and yes I do have registered Autodesk products, but the problem is what can you actually do about it? A back room sale is not respected by Autodesk they also don’t provide support and shun the practice. You would be better off just pirating vs buying second hand.

    1. Steve Johnson

      It’s done with official Autodesk approval, no matter how unwilling that approval might be. They do have to support licenses transferred in this way in the EU, which is very different from the situation with pirated software.

  4. Tom

    Hi, the german website also offers perpetual licences of various Autodesk products (AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT, different Autodesk suites).

    I bought Autodesk AutoCAD LT 2018 there and they transferred the license into my existing Autodesk account directly via Autodesk support. The process took a couple of days but the price was good and the license is 100 % legit.

    Support team is helpful if you have any questions regarding the transferring process.

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