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Intent: Definition, Example and Related Terms

Intent ?

Intent is a term often used in law and business to describe what a person or company wants to do or achieve with their actions. It's like the goal or plan behind what someone does. In the world of commercial contracts, intent is very important because it can determine how the contract is interpreted and enforced. For example, if two businesses sign a contract to work together on a project, the intent might be for them to share the profits equally. But if one business does all the work and the other does nothing, the intent of the contract might be interpreted differently by a court. Intent can be expressed directly in the contract, like when it says 'Company A and Company B intend to share the profits equally'. But it can also be implied from the circumstances around the contract, like if the businesses have a history of sharing profits equally. It's the job of a contracts manager to understand the intent of a contract and make sure it's carried out in a way that's fair for everyone involved. This can involve negotiating the terms of the contract, monitoring its execution, and resolving any disputes that arise.


  • Scenario Description
    Company A and Company B enter into a contract to develop a new software together. The contract states that they intend to share the profits equally. In this case, the intent of the contract is for both companies to work together on the project and to share the profits equally. If one company ends up doing all the work and the other does nothing, a court might interpret the intent differently. It might decide that the intent was for the profits to be shared based on the amount of work each company did, not equally. This could lead to a dispute between the companies, which could be resolved by a contracts manager.
    A business hires a marketing agency to increase its sales. The contract states that the agency will be paid a percentage of the increased sales. The intent of this contract is for the marketing agency to increase the business's sales and to be paid based on the results. If the agency does a lot of work but the sales don't increase, the intent of the contract could be interpreted differently. The business might argue that the intent was for the agency to be paid only if the sales increased, while the agency might argue that it should be paid for its work regardless of the results. A contracts manager could help resolve this dispute by interpreting the intent of the contract.

Related terms