Assume that I created a software that accidentally infringes on 5 software patents, and then I sold this software for a number of years and made $10,000 in profit.

Can the holders of these 5 patents later sue me and each patent holder demand that I pay $10,000 in damages, and so I have to pay a total of $50,000 in damages?

  • 1
    Maybe, maybe not. In that order of magnitude though, your attorney costs, maybe opponent attorney costs, court costs etc. will definitly make it cost well more than those 10k. Good news, for 10k you'll probably be able to negotiate a settlement because it's not worth it for the other side anyways. So, are you looking for an answer specifically about small infringement and possible damages or about damages in general?
    – user18033
    Jul 8, 2018 at 10:33
  • @DonQuiKong I'm asking to see if I can be sued for damages that are more than my actual profit (the $10,000 and $50,000 are just hypothetical numbers, they can be any other numbers).
    – user21220
    Jul 8, 2018 at 10:42
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    Imho it would be clearer if you asked directly how damages are calculated and what kind of damages exist.
    – user18033
    Jul 8, 2018 at 11:31
  • How do you know you infringe? Do you have a legal opinion? Software patents are often narrower that they seem.
    – Eric S
    Jul 9, 2018 at 3:19
  • @Eric Shain I didn't infringe on any patent, my question is about what would happen if I accidentally infringed on some patents.
    – user21220
    Jul 9, 2018 at 7:34

1 Answer 1



The damages relate to the loss the patent owner sustained and have nothing to do with how much you made. As in another Q/A, you could give away the product for free and still be liable for damages. Infringing does not require intent so accidentally infringing is infringing.

  • Germany allows calculating damages based on the infringers profit (not exclusively). (Just as an addendum)
    – user18033
    Jul 11, 2018 at 13:17

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