I think it's 2020 or so. Quite a while. And I'm also pretty sure these patents are registered in Europe, so everyone who thinks this is a US only problem is wrong. I know some of the opengl patents are registered there anyway, if these aren't.
Oh, and merely distributing code that implements patented features shouldn't cause any legal problems.
Look at x264 for example. That code is highly patented, and the patent owners are highly litigious. They just tell people that if you are going to use it, get a license, and that works fine for everyone.
The nice thing about law is that anyone who has more money than you can sue you, and even win the lawsuit, even if the law is actually on your side.
So just because it would be lawful to include that code in source form, you can still get sued and lose if the one doing the suing is richer than you.
The code is already out there and hosted on the same server. If someone wanted to sue them, they already could. I guess integrating it back into the master branch might raise it's profile a bit and draw attention, but from a legal POV there's not much reason to leave it out. IANAL
OMG.. someone got a patent for floating point textures?!? Sooooo wrong. Software patents need to be done away with.
....somewhere within the research division of a large American tech company....
Smith: "Hey lets patent 2 dimensional wchar_t arrays!!"
Shandrakar: "We'll be rich!! ...well maybe they will raise us above $30/hr."
Smith: "At the least we could use it to scare the open source community."
Shandrakar: "And we can put *patent* on our resumes!"
Oh well, its good that the patches will be merged into Mesa mainline.