I build a connected wiki and mind map application (www.vis-a-wiki.org). In the process of releasing it I learned about software patents and that I might get in trouble there (though I don't know of any concrete patent I may infringe).

Would it be possible to release it as a private person for free and closed source but for private use only without risking to get into troubles?

  • All depends on where you are in the world and where you plan to distribute your software. If you're sat in a country that permits the patenting of abstract processes and methods, when implemented on a computer, and there are local patents covering the concepts your software implements, go see a lawyer. If you're sat in a country that does not permit abstract methods to be patented, and you're only distributing in that locale, then you'll only need to worry about copyright and trademarks (design patents). If you're not sure if software is patentable in your locale, go see a lawyer.
    – arober11
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 2:30

1 Answer 1


Knowingly infringing a patent can lead to treble damages, so if you're worried enough to post here, I would personally advise adjusting your methods to get out of the risk.

I mean, sure, if you're using it just personally, "nobody's gonna find out," but it's still a legal risk that I strongly suspect isn't worth taking. Someone will inevitably find out, and it doesn't matter whether you're doing it for profit or not--you'll still be liable either way.

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