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01.29.13

New Zealand to Possibly Have Software Patents Explicitly Blocked

Posted in Patents at 3:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: Ongoing efforts to overturn unjust pushes for software patents in a rather progressive country, New Zealand (NZ)

The largest corporations in Europe and the United States have always wanted more patents, whereas people remained apathetic or hostile, depending on how well informed they were. Protectionism helps nobody but the powerful and their enablers, as wars over sewing machines showed (they became suing machines). Lawyers occupy too much space in this debate, so it is easy to lose sight of public opinion or shape that opinion according to lawyers’ interests. With growing unrest against the USPTO, Eric Goldman, a lawyer, wrote a paper about software patents, which are a hot topic alongside patent trolls. On the face of it, the topic returns to the island of NZ.”The movement against software patents will be ramping up its campaign,” says IDG, “trying to encourage a more active political stance in support of the Patents Bill as it currently stands, with its clause stating simply “a computer program is not a patentable invention”.

“Action is urgent, says Dave Lane, organiser of the ‘No Software Patents in NZ’ petition. Parliament is due to start sitting on January 29 and the Bill is currently eighth on the order paper. This means that after its debate by the committee of the whole House, it could reach the third reading stage in the first week of Parliament this year.”

We wrote about the patent situation in this country many times before because it’s a strategically important outpost for the multinationals’ cartel, which seeks to legitimise “private maths”. An activist site from NZ writes:

Disclaimer: this is the view of the coordinators of this site following the 2nd reading of the Patents Bill in NZ Parliament, and this view is not necessarily shared by all the petition co-signers.

The situation prior to the 3rd Reading (“Committee Stage”) of the Patents Bill is that Commerce Minister Craig Foss continues to stand by the recommendations of his officials in MBIE (formerly of MED). He has not withdrawn the controversial clause 10A(2) – introduced just prior to the 2nd reading as Supplementary Order Paper 120 – which has caused us to mount this petition. Clause 10A(2) modifies the meaning of the uncontroversial 10A(1) – which simply states that “a computer program is not an invention for the purposes of this Act”. We are all very happy with 10A(1) – it effectively excludes software (computer programs) from being patentable in a way which – according to our legal advice – does not threaten NZ’s compliance with TRIPS (trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation or WTO).

Here is a take from so-called ‘patent buff’:

It has been a few months since my colleagues and I watched the Second Reading of the New Zealand Patents Bill on the tellie. I cover this event in my post Patent Party in the House. It is now time for the New Zealand Parliament (known as the Committee of the whole House) to consider the Bill part by part.

The Bill has jumped to Number 2 on the Order Paper. The Committee stage may happen within the next few weeks. Is this really the final hurdle? Could it be that we will see patent law reform at last?

Whose reform? Craig Foss seeks to serve multinationals that want software patents.

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