Evaluating Software for Electronic Contracts

M. Mira da Silva (Portugal)


Software Products and Law, Contracting in International Cyberspace, Information Technology, Internet


Contracts are the basis for most business transactions, but unfortunately they have been absent from most projects on business-to-business electronic commerce. As a consequence we have almost no experience with, let alone the benefit from using, electronic contracts. Now that European Directives support both digital signatures and electronic contracts, and that research software is finally available, we should conduct trials to evaluate electronic contracting in practice. In this paper we first introduce the software components developed in the OCTANE European research project to build, negotiate and sign electronic contracts as well as related work. We then present an overview of the three business sectors evaluating the technology to later concentrate in the Portuguese trial user that represents a typical European SME. We conclude the paper with some conclusions taken from a real world trial we conducted using this software.

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