Software patents

Samuel Thurston, III sam.thurston at
Tue Nov 10 03:10:21 GMT 2009

On Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 9:00 PM, Ian L. Target <ian69 at> wrote:
> Do software patents ever expire?

Yes, depending on jurisdiction of the patent how long.  In the US it's
20 years from date of grant.

> Will I ever be able to /legally/ allow
> my friends to install MS Office 97 on their computers?

You personally? Probably not.  Software licensing is governed by
copyright rather than patent.  Copyright terms are typically much
longer than patents. Again, using US law, works made for hire expire
95 years from publish date or 120 from creation, whichever comes
first.  So for office 97, your descendants will be able to install
those on their 1000+ core hybrid optical-quantum computers freely...
in 2092.

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