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How to write a law banning software patents

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There are two main proposals for writing a law that would protect software from patents:

  1. Excluding software from patentability - exclude software from the subject matter that can be patented
  2. Shielding software from litigation - declare that use and distribution of software can never constitute infringement

The first has been the focus of numerous campaigns since the 1990s and is quite mature. The latter is an alternative, suggested in 2012. It looks promising but has received gone through the same scrutiny.

A third way would be to abolish the entire patent system, for all domains, but this would require many times more work and there's no consensus on whether it's a good idea. There are advantages in focusing only on software.

For advice about terminology, see:

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