I have used the term evergreening in the context of replacing PC systems at a pre-determined rate; that is, that such a scheme would replace every PC in an office every 3 years by gradually replacing systems a few at a time over an extended period.

I cannot however find this word used in this context in dictionaries online and I'm not sure if it's a colloquialism in the IT field or if it would be recognized in the general populace. If the latter, what are some alternative terms?

1 Answer 1


As explained below, it is a term derived from the more usual concept of "evergreen", but it appears that is mainly used in a legal context:


Evergreening refers to a variety of legal and business strategies by which technology producers with patents over products that are about to expire retain royalties from them, by either taking out new patents (for example over associated delivery systems, or new pharmaceutical mixtures), or by buying out or frustrating competitors, for longer periods of time than would normally be permissible under the law.

is not a formal concept of patent law; it is best understood as a social idea used to refer to the myriad ways in which pharmaceutical patent owners use the law and related regulatory processes to extend their high rent-earning intellectual property rights particularly over highly profitable (either in total sales volume or price per unit) "blockbuster" drugs.

  • Yes, this is the context I see it being defined in most commonly but I'd like to know if my usage is appropriate.
    – NaOH
    Jul 7, 2014 at 6:59
  • 1
    It strikes me that you want to use the term 'evergreening' in exactly the opposite way to the usage explained in this answer. You want a word for a regular and timely replacement of old computers, 'evergreening' seems to be about using legal manoeuvring to keep old items in service. Jul 7, 2014 at 7:17

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