So I browsed through the WTFPL Feedback Section and found this question unanswered (actually it was answered but I do not want to gun down people in the streets). enter image description here

So, if somebody sues you, can they actually win the process? If so, how would I have to modify the license so there are no legal consequences for me when licensing my project?

  • There is some confusion I think in what the WTFPL is and is not. A "license" is not a right in anything, it is a permission to use something, If I invent a new recipe and publish it with the WTFPL attached I am saying that I give my permission for people to use my recipe anyway they want. However, attaching the WTFPL was pointless because recipes cannot be copyrighted or patented. I never actually had any right to prevent anyone from using it except if I had kept the recipe secret as a trade secret. I lost that right when I published it.
    – O.M.Y.
    Commented May 5, 2018 at 16:24

1 Answer 1



Patent laws vary between countries, but a general feature is that one can only patent their own original inventions. If somebody else knew the details of the invention before the patent was applied for (prior art), the patent is not valid.

So if somebody else tried to get a patent on your invention, you (or anyone else) could simply provide the patent office with evidence of prior art. This would be particularly easy to do if you had already released the invention to the public, since potentially anyone could testify that they knew about the invention. Their application would then be rejected.

If they were awarded the patent without anybody noticing, and then tried to sue you (or some third party) for infringement, you could likewise produce the prior art, and their patent would be declared invalid and their lawsuit dismissed.

  • This said, if two independent inventors come up with the same idea and one patents it before the other, the first to patent inventor can still sue the other independent inventor for patent infringement. There is no requirement that a new invention be derived from a patented one to be covered by patent law as there is in copyright law.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 21:41

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