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I have a small piece of code I'd like to release to the public domain. I'm considering using a CC0 license, but it has that infamous patent clause that prevents people from freely reusing CC0 code. Can I simply append a declaration of no patent ownership to my project? How can I do so? Does this prevent other people from patenting my code?

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  • Licensing questions are off topic here. Ask on Law SE
    – George White
    Sep 6, 2022 at 18:38
  • @GeorgeWhite I'm not sure what you mean. As I understand, copyright and patent ownership are two different things. What I'm asking is specifically about the patent part – how to declare that I don't own any patent related to a project. Maybe this is outside of the scope of this SE site, but I mentioned the license only to clarify the context in which the need to declare no patent ownership would make sense.
    – Wood
    Sep 6, 2022 at 21:02
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    I do not think there is a formal way to do that. Elon Musk famously declared Tesla patents open - but added a huge caveat. You might google comments made around that time. Ask elsewhere if a “license” that says “I openly, at no cost (perpetually/ allow sub licenses/irrevocably, world wide) license any patent I may ever get that relates to this code.
    – George White
    Sep 7, 2022 at 0:07

2 Answers 2

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I would simply state in the code comments or wherever the license is specified that the author of the code has no issued or pending patents related to the code. What you can’t do is indemnify users of your code in case the code in some way infringes on someone else’s existing patent.

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One part of the question is on-topic.

Does this prevent other people from patenting my code?

First of all, “code” isn’t patented although processes involving software can often be patented it is not specific to some particular code but to a larger concept.

Once publicly exposed, your code will technically be prior art to anything filed after that day. It is not too likely to be found by an examiner so not too likely to factor into someone else’s patent prosecution.

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