Bye bye to software patents

Biz Journals writes:

After five years of debate New Zealand today told most the rest of the world where they can put their software patent laws: Anywhere but New Zealand. The nation voted to ban the controversial form of intellectual property, a move some believe will free up innovators in New Zealand to compete on equal ground against the rest of the world, and could have far-reaching implications if other countries follow suit.

“Today’s historic legislation will support our innovative technology industry, and sends a clear message to the rest of the world that New Zealand won’t tolerate the vexatious practice of ‘patent trolls,’” said the chief executive of New Zealand’s Institute of IT Professionals (IITP)Paul Matthews, according to a ZDNet report.

In the United States, companies like Apple and Samsung have used software patents to batter each other so mercilessly that CNN finally broke down and drew up a score card to try to make sense of it.

It’s great Parliament voted (I think unanimously) to remove the ability to patent software. The problems such patents caused far outstrip their benefits. Copyright of course still applies to the code in any software.

Most of the local IT industry has fought long and hard for this, convincing first a select committee, then the Government that this is the right thing to do. In latter times, working with politicians on getting the wording right also.

It also shows that the TPP negotiations are not a barrier to New Zealand deciding for itself what our intellectual property laws should be. Some said this law was being delayed so it could be dropped as part of the TPP. The bill would not have been passed into law if the Government was about to agree to scrap it a few months later.

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