Medical imaging equipment values are driven by a variety of factors. The level of technology, model, make and demand all work together to create the market value. Any experienced asset manager or imaging equipment owner would be able to describe most of those factors without much difficulty.
However, one of the most important factors and often the most overlooked factor... the imaging equipment’s software.
The software on a system, which determines and manages nearly all of the functionality of these pieces of equipment, does not necessarily travel with the equipment!
The Software License Agreement
In plain terms, you may own your equipment, but you do not own the software. The right to use it is available to you because of a license agreement that the manufacturer included with the original sale of the equipment. When it comes time to value your imaging equipment, you should know that the transferability of the equipment’s software is also controlled by a software license agreement. Understanding the terms and conditions of your agreement and how the software is tied to the terms is crucial.
Most manufacturers provide for nontransferable software licenses with the sale of their equipment. This means they could have the right to prevent future owners from using the software. This has not traditionally been a problem as the technical ownership of the software has been largely ignored. However, as the economy continues to burden manufacturers, it appears software license enforcement may be one method manufacturers use to minimize losses. For that reason, they are not allowing the transfer of the license of software when it comes time to re-sell the imaging equipment.
Understanding the terms of the agreement where software is concerned could save your equipment significant value (as much as $100,000!).
Get it in Writing
The terms of the agreement signed at the time of purchase control your rights. Negotiate your terms prior to signing, make sure that you will be able to transfer the software license when you re-sell. If the manufacturers make a habit of enforcement, the demand for your equipment will shrink and buyers will be forced to purchase software licenses in addition to the equipment.
Actions You Can Take
This information may cause you to be concerned about the value of the equipment you currently own. Maybe it is time to go back to the manufacture and simply ask to make your software license transferable. If the manufacturer will not cooperate, use another manufacturer for your next purchase, or try the secondary market. Protect the value of your imaging equipment and consider negotiating transferable software licenses... it could make all the difference in your investment.