Is there a statute of limitation on software patents?

If there is a statute of limitation, when does the statute of limitation period goes into effect, is it after the release of the software that infringes on the patent, or is it after the patent holder knew that the patent has been infringed?

  • Well, supposedly if the software still exists there is an ongoing infringement, right?
    – user18033
    Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 17:10
  • @DonQuiKong Sorry, I do not understand what you mean.
    – user21220
    Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 18:00
  • I think (don't know for sure) that a statute of limitations would only start if you stop infringing the patent, so if you don't sell the software anymore.
    – user18033
    Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 18:45

1 Answer 1


This answer relates to US infringement.

Not exactly. One limitation on recovering damages goes the other way in time.

35 U.S. Code § 286 - Time limitation on damages US Code Notes

Except as otherwise provided by law, no recovery shall be had for any infringement committed more than six years prior to the filing of the complaint or counterclaim for infringement in the action.

If you have been infringing for 10 years, only the most recent 6 years counts for damages. In addition, there is a doctrine of equitable estoppel. It is a defense in a patent infringement suit where the patent owner has previously notified you and made noises about stoping you and then goes silent for a long time. It requires a showing of (1) misleading statements or conduct; (2) action in reliance; and (3) resulting prejudice.

  • Can the patent holder sues the developer for patent infringement after 7 years from patent expiration date (assume that the patent infringement happened when the patent was still not expired)?
    – user21220
    Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 23:23
  • @user21220 You should make this another question.
    – Eric S
    Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 12:58

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