Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Software patents in New Zealand - not

An interesting contribution to the debate on software patents: changes to the New Zealand patent legislation might exclude software from patentability completely, according to a report in The Register. At present this is just a recommendation of a Select Committee after a review of the Patents Bill, which is designed to bring the law - currently found in the Patents Act 1953, based on the UK Act of 1949 - up to date. The Select Commmittee suggests the phrase: “A computer program is not a patentable invention”. No weasel words like "as such", then, but I suspect still lots of scope for argument about when a patent protects the software and when it protects a new machine controlled by the software.

Turning to my running friends from NZ, there's more here from Hudson Garvey Martin - informative - and yet more here from my old friend Matt Sumpter at Chapman Tripp, taking the view that this would stifle innovation. It's an arguable position, of course, but not a very fashionable in the software field where to my mind excessively wide patents bring the whole patent system into disrepute.

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