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08.28.13

New Zealand Beats Multinationals and Patent Lawyers in Latest Round Against Software Patents

Posted in Patents at 2:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Good news for Auckland and other major cities

Church in Auckland

Summary: The island which shares patent woes with Europe is successfully steering politicians in the right direction, albeit loopholes remain for exploitation

The fight over software patents in New Zealand ended with an outcome not as bad as we feared after Foss had tried to legalise software patents. Following backlash from the public and from local companies he changed his tune completely:

New Zealand has finally passed a new Patents Bill that will effectively outlaw software patents after five years of debate, delay and intense lobbying from multinational software vendors.

Aptly-named Commerce Minister Craig Foss welcomed the modernisation of patents law, saying it marked a “significant step towards driving innovation in New Zealand”.

“By clarifying the definition of what can be patented, we are giving New Zealand businesses more flexibility to adapt and improve existing inventions, while continuing to protect genuine innovations,” Foss said.

Loopholes for software patents endure. But still, it’s no worse than before. Pogson said “Governments shouldn’t have to do this. It’s obvious that software is obvious and subject to copyright. Software has to be obvious or stupid computes wouldn’t be able to figure out what has to be done. Software is obvious like telephone books and recipes are obvious. They are not innovative in that they are just a sequence of data and instructions with myriad combinations. Software is subject to copyright. That’s the right way to protect the developer’s ideas.”

In Europe we share the same problem as NZ. While software patents are not ‘officially’ allowed some companies continue to be granted piles of them. Some would be useless in court though and the patent holders know that.

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