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Patentable subject matter

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Patentable subject matter is the patentability criterion which defines the types of innovation that can be patented. The goal of anti-software-patent campaigns is to have definitions of patentable subject matter clearly exclude software ideas.

For discussion of abolishing software patents in this way, see Exclude software from patentability.

In the USA, when the context makes it obvious that patents are the topic, this is sometimes called statuary subject matter.

For example, in all or most countries, mathematical formulas are considered not to be patentable subject matter. Therefore, even if a mathematical formula fulfils the other criteria (it's new, it's original, it's useful), it cannot be patented. This is the basis of the interest in software is math arguments.


[edit] Where is it defined?

In most of Europe, patentable subject matter is defined by the European Patent Convention.

In the USA, it's section §101 of the legislation.

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[edit] Per-country explanations

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