4

I would like to create a VBA UserForm that has a very similar layout to one that is already shipped by Microsoft with Excel. The UserForm is pretty simple: one ListBox, two TextBoxes and around seven Buttons. I would like to use the UserForm as an interface for commercial software. The term layout/design refers here to the arrangement of elements on the UserForm.

My general question is:

Are there any kind of copyrights (or patents) on the layout/design of VBA UserForms?

And in particular:

May Microsoft hold any copyrights of the the layout/design of the UserForms that ship with Excel?

3

Strictly speaking, yes, Microsoft owns the copyright for all that stuff. But they grant users a license. So it's a matter of knowing what they let us do with it.

I grabbed the EULA for Excel 2013. You'll want to check your version. My reading of this is that you can do the thing that you want to do.

M. ADDITIONAL LICENSING REQUIREMENTS AND/OR USE RIGHTS

...

  1. Media Elements. Microsoft grants you a license to copy, distribute, perform and display media elements (images, clip art, animations, sounds, music, video clips, templates and other forms of content) included with the software in projects and documents, except that you may not: (i) sell, license or distribute copies of any media elements by themselves or as a product if the primary value of the product is the media elements; (ii) grant your customers rights to further license or distribute the media elements; (iii) license or distribute for commercial purposes media elements that include the representation of identifiable individuals, governments, logos, trademarks, or emblems or use these types of images in ways that could imply an endorsement or association with your product, entity or activity; or (iv) create obscene or scandalous works using the media elements. Other media elements, which are accessible on Office.com or on other websites through features of the software, are governed by the terms on those websites.

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