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.
It’s too bad that – no matter how awesome New Zealand is – they’re a very small player, much like my own country. Still, change has to start somewhere, and this is at least something.
A big welcome to our newest member! Free cake for everyone!
Edited 2013-08-28 12:20 UTC
From one contry that bans software patents (Brazil): welcome to the group, New Zealand!
No more government handed monopolies/free cash.
Having founded and run the European NoSoftwarePatents campaign, I obviously know that there’s a lot of people out there who’d like this to happen, but… it hasn’t happened.
The New Zealand patent reform bill excludes only patents on computer programs “as such”, and in Europe we know very well that this means broad swaths of software inventions are still patentable.
Down in NZ they say they’ve adopted the UK line as a compromise, but in the UK, software patents are also valid. Anyone who wants to understand the UK reality should take a look at these facts: HTC challenged four Apple software patents in the UK, and one of its attack vectors was that these were patents on software “as such”, but the High Court agreed with HTC on only one of the four — and that finding got overturned on appeal.
I did a blog post today on the NZ decision that goes into further detail.