Licensing Program

Standards exist so that we can talk to each other with a common understanding of what is being communicated, enabling us to conduct business efficiently, and reliably.

X12’s multi-tier licensing does away with the traditional one-size-fits-all approach and bases the categories on how you benefit from X12's standards. The licensing categories are:

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Icon for Commercial Use Partners

Commercial Use Partner

Annual fee, based on terms of Partner Agreement

There are several benefits to becoming a Commercial Use Licensing Partner:

  • Provides access to available X12 work products;
  • Supports timely delivery of new versions as they are published, at a fixed annual cost;
  • Adapts X12’s business model to include modern distribution mediums, and fairly shared costs, supporting the long-term vision for a strong library of effective, efficient, and responsive e-commerce standards; and,
  • Enables compliant licensees to leverage X12 Intellectual Property (IP) for their specific uses without being concerned about legal infringements or fair use violations.

If you’re representing an organization that is or intends to use X12 IP in an solution to license to your customer, a third party - then you, the organization you represent is considered an X12 Commercial Use Licensing Partner.

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Icon for Internal Use Partners

Internal Use Partner

$3,600 annual fee

There are several benefits to becoming an Internal Use Licensing Partner:

  • Provides access to available X12 work products;
  • Supports timely delivery of new versions as they are published, at a fixed annual cost;
  • Adapts X12’s business model to include modern distribution mediums, and fairly shared costs, supporting the long-term vision for a strong library of effective, efficient, and responsive e-commerce standards; and,
  • Enables compliant licensees to leverage X12 Intellectual Property (IP) for their specific uses without being concerned about legal infringements or fair use violations.

If you’re representing an organization that is or intends to use X12 IP in an internal solution to send or receive X12 transactions - then you, the organization you represent is considered an X12 Internal Use Licensing Partner.

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Licensed User

$180 annual fee

There are several benefits as a Licensed User:

  • Allows you to leverage X12 standards that are embedded in your software or service providers offering;
  • Provides timely access to view available X12 work products through Glass, X12's Online Viewer for easy reference and troubleshooting, if offered by your software or service provider;
  • Adapts X12’s business model to include modern distribution mediums, and fairly shared costs, supporting the long-term vision for a strong library of effective, efficient, and responsive e-commerce standards; and,
  • Enables compliant licensees to leverage X12 Intellectual Property (IP) for their specific uses without being concerned about legal infringements or fair use violations.
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Development Licensing

$1,200 annual fee

There are several benefits to being a Licensed Developer:

  • Provides access to and development-only use of available X12 work products, for a low fixed annual fee;
  • Supports timely delivery of new versions as they are published for reference by licensees that they may not have previously been able to see;
  • Adapts X12's business model to include modern distribution mediums, and fairly shared costs, supporting the long-term vision for a strong library of effective, efficient, and responsive e-commerce standards; and,
  • Enables companies to leverage X12 Intellectual Property (IP) for their specific internal uses without being concerned about legal infringements or fair use violations.

If you're representing an organization that is or intends to use X12 IP - it's standards, TR3s and derivatives - in an internal solution to send or receive X12 transactions, then you, the organization you represent is considered an Developer. You can become a licensed Developer and gain access all X12 work products for your internal development or implementation use.

X12 is committed to enabling its Partners to focus on competing successfully within the industries they serve by ensuring they and their customers have timely access to new versions and supporting documentation.

We are proud that X12 standards support the success of such a diverse cross-section of businesses represented by our Partners, Users, and Developers. Our goal is to continually evolve X12 processes in ways that meet the ever-evolving business needs of our implementation base, including rollout of this more nimble, easily-accessible and modern distribution method for standards. While X12 simplifies our partner's access to the tried and true standards as well as the latest versions, you can focus on your business differentiators, products, and marketing with one less distraction. Your successes are our successes, and vice-versa when there's a strong library of easily-available ever-evolving standards as common ground.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why has X12 Licensing Changed?
Answer

X12's standards have been trusted and working across many industries for a long time but the costs of creating and maintaining the standards have not been distributed fairly among all the parties accruing value from the standards. This is unsustainable over time and unfair to those who have been paying more than their fair share to make up for those paying less than their fair share. With hundreds of thousands of X12 based transactions moving between thousands of trading partners daily, a licensing program that is based on a nominal fee for every trading partner allows X12 to continue to develop and maintain standards which drive effective and efficient business practices.

Additionally, the electronic world is changing fast as public cloud-based processing, more prolific customer-configurable applications and mobile-computing constantly evolve to create a new reality. X12 standards are important across these areas and this licensing program allows X12 to expand it's offerings to keep up with new opportunities as they're presented.

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How did it work previously?
Answer

Software companies and other EDI service vendors have traditionally licensed X12 products for a set fee similar to the fee paid by companies who only use X12 Intellectual Property (IP) internally. The software companies and other EDI service vendors then embedded the intellectual property in software and tools for the benefit of their customers, distributed the value of the IP widely, and collected fees from their customers based in part on the value of the IP, without sharing any portion of that revenue with X12.

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When did this go into effect?
Answer

The licensing program was initiated in 2016 and has been steadily rolling out since then.

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Who does this apply to?
Answer

This applies to the following categories of licensees:

  • Commercial Use Partners that embed and effectively distribute X12 Intellectual Property (IP) in third party software or for the benefit of third parties
  • Internal Use Partners that use X12 IP in internal software for their own organization's benefit
  • Users of software that has X12 IP embedded in it and users of X12's Online Viewer
  • Developers that are creating software not yet ready for production use
Question
What is the licensing fee based on?
Answer

Partner fees vary based on the number of X12 work products incorporated and, for Commercial Use Partners, the functionality being offered to Users. These costs are not intended to be punitive or prohibitive.

User fees vary based on whether they are directly licensed by X12 or by one of X12's Commercial Use Partners. Again, the costs to these Users are intended to remain very low and fixed annually.

Fees for Developers are fixed at a low rate to encourage development of solutions based on X12 work products.

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How do licensees obtain a license?
Answer

Partners obtain a license directly from X12 through a Partner License Agreement.

Users may obtain a license from one of X12's Commercial Use Partners or directly from X12, depending on the respective Partner License Agreement.

Developers obtain a license directly from X12 through a simple on-line purchase process.

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How does it impact my relationship with my trading partners?
Answer

This licensing program is not expected to have any direct impact on your relationship with your trading partners. For additional information, please contact us via email at licensing@x12.org.

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Does a User license offer any other benefits?
Answer

A User license obtained directly from X12 will offer additional benefits over time as X12 has projects in development that will offer even more value to this group of licensees.

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What does this mean for my X12 Membership?
Answer

An X12 license doesn't change your X12 membership in any way.

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What is the difference between being an X12 licensee and being an X12 member?
Answer

An X12 licensee has an agreement with X12 that allows them to access and use X12 intellectual property that is contained in its work products for specific purposes. An X12 membership allows the member and the member’s representatives to participate in X12’s collaboration activities, attend X12’s Standing Meetings, vote on X12 Standards and other X12 matters, access X12’s collaboration and work product development tools, and receive announcements and other updates. In addition, a member's primary and alternate representatives receive complimentary license to Glass, X12's online viewer. Read more about membership benefits.

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Why do I need an X12 product license if I am an X12 member?
Answer

X12 members have many benefits and privileges but access to and use of X12 intellectual property contained in its work products is not covered under the membership agreement. If you want to access X12’s IP online, internally, or in a commercial service or product, you’ll need to license that use from X12.

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Who can I talk with to better understand this?
Answer

For additional information, please contact us via email at licensing@x12.org.