If you have been audited by IBM, you need experienced counsel to protect your business. Scott & Scott, LLP has a dedicated practice group focusing on defending companies accused of software license violations by IBM. Our lawyers have counseled many businesses in your situation. Our lawyers and technology professionals have the technical and legal skills necessary to vigorously fight for your interests against an IBM audit.

A typical target of an IBM audit will receive a letter from IBM demanding the business’ cooperation in disclosing the number IBM installations on its network and the number of IBM licenses it owns, including serial numbers. An outside accounting firm is frequently engaged to perform a third-party compliance review. The letter may go on to describe the audit process and request a phone conference to “kick-off” the audit.

Targets who receive letters in an IBM audit should treat the matter very seriously. It is important to know your legal rights and protect your legal position before responding to a request for an IBM audit. Additionally, companies who prepare their own responses to IBM without the benefit of counsel and before conducting a thorough investigation may receive an unexpectedly high settlement offer from IBM. We advise our IBM audit clients to ensure that internally prepared license reconciliations are protected by the attorney-client and work-product privileges if possible.

In many cases, IBM demands a settlement payment calculated at the customer’s historical discounted price for the products found to be unlicensed plus back maintenance for up to two years.

When responding to IBM audit requests, you should work with experienced counsel to thoroughly investigate the software usage on your computers, protect yourself by requesting an agreement from IBM regarding the use of the materials that will be produced in the audit, and negotiate a resolution geared toward ensuring future compliance. Our lawyers and technology professionals can guide you through every step of the IBM audit process.

IBM Audit Blogs

Settlement Structuring for IBM Audits

Christopher Barnett  Comments (0)
Software-compliance audits initiated by IBM can be extremely burdensome and time-consuming and can force companies to face challenges that are somewhat unique among major-publisher audits. For one example, a significant component of IBM’s business model...

IBM Audit FAQ's

Q: Can I ignore IBM's audit request?

A: It is not advisable for you to ignore the request. Most IBM license agreements give IBM the right to audit an organization that has its products deployed. Failure to allow the audit to proceed may jeopardize an IBM user’s right to continue using the products.

Q; Why am I being audited now?

A: IBM has an aggressive auditing department and strives to audit each of its customers at some point during the professional relationship. IBM seems to prioritize certain cases where it believes that there likely is a compliance gap between what its customers own and what they have installed.

A: The auditors are requesting an in-person meeting. Should I proceed with the meeting?

A: IBM’s auditors typically request on-site inspections as part of the process. However, in some instances, the auditors will consent to a verification process that is conducted remotely.


Meet the Team

Robert J. Scott


Julie Machal-Fulks


Christopher Barnett

Senior Attorney

Keli johnson Swan


Stephen F. Pinson


Mariqus Alexander



Our Clients