I am working on a checklist (or list or strategies to consider) for new individual developers residing in the US who are about to release their first app, but are worried about patent trolls.

Whether to make the app free vs paid... that is the question for today:

As long as an app is free does that mean that nobody can sue you for patent infringement?

  • Please read the proposed duplicate - I think you have misunderstood the distinction between patent and copyright.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 14:43
  • This isn't quite a duplicate since I believe the question relates to whether you can infringe a patent if your app doesn't make money. I believe the answer is yes you can be sued, but I am not a lawyer so I'd prefer for one of those to answer the question.
    – Eric S
    Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 15:17
  • This link is highly relevant: ask.metafilter.com/216885/…
    – Eric S
    Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 15:20
  • @DonQuiKong Good dupe find.
    – Eric S
    Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 18:47

1 Answer 1


No, patent infringement does not require making money on the infringing activity. It would probably affect the damages calculation, but giving away something that the inventor was selling might take away the inventor's market and cause a huge damage to the inventor even though the infringer didn't make any money.