09.22.17

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Shelston IP Blames “Well-Organised and Appropriately-Connected Open Source Lobby” for Ban on Software Patents

Posted in Australia, Patents at 2:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Shelston IPSummary: The activism is working and foes of programmers are feeling the pressure, for software patents are being more explicitly banned in some countries

THANKFULLY enough, New Zealand’s software industry (i.e. developers) managed to keep software patents away. The same is true, to some degree, in Australia (we wrote some articles about that a few weeks ago). We have covered the subject very closely for many years and it last intensified again a couple of years ago when Shelston IP et el — basically a bunch of self-serving liars (lying about the software industry) — reared their ugly heads again [1, 2, 3, 4]. No doubt they will keep on trying again and again until they get their way (if ever).

“It is now blaming FOSS — by name — for the de facto software patents ban (loopholes notwithstanding).”A couple of days ago Shelston IP had another go at it. It is now blaming FOSS — by name — for the de facto software patents ban (loopholes notwithstanding). The whole thing was “largely due to a well-organised and appropriately-connected open source lobby – however, the change of Government and its amenability to such campaigning cannot be ruled out as a contributing factor.”

Last year we wrote a lot of articles about the Productivity Commission of Australia, whose suggestions were more officially adopted only weeks ago, in defiance of pressure from law firms (whose agenda is altogether different; they’re patent maximalists).

Writing from Australia, here is what Shelston IP said about New Zealand:

With few exceptions, most of the reforms listed above are apolitical in the sense that they would likely have eventuated irrespective of which party held the balance of power at the time. That said, some of the specific detail of the various reforms may have had a slightly partisan political flavour to it – for instance, the issue of software patents in the lead-up to the new Patents Act 2013. Originally, when the exposure draft of the new legislation was published (2004), the Labour-led coalition of the time proposed no software-specific restrictions as to whether it was patentable. However, by 2010, the National-led Government had purported to impose not only an “as such” restriction – but, further, to align more with the English courts (exemplified in the Aerotel decision) than with the European system. New Zealand’s change in position over these six years was largely due to a well-organised and appropriately-connected open source lobby – however, the change of Government and its amenability to such campaigning cannot be ruled out as a contributing factor.

Unfortunately, in New Zealand and elsewhere, one cannot be too nice, courteous or polite; the only way to keep software patents away is to starve companies like Shelston IP which keep meddling in policy (and demonise/lie about people who are actually affected by those policies, e.g. software developers).

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