New Zealand bans software patents

The Kiwi government, which has been famous for rolling over for the US government and big business, has surprisingly decided to outlaw software patents.

According to ITWireafter five years the Kiwis have finally passed a new Patents Bill that will effectively outlaw software patents.

It was not easy and there was a lot of lobbying from multinational patent trolls who wanted to keep their business alive.

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

In a statement, Foss said that by clarifying what can be patented, New Zealand businesses more flexibility to adapt and improve existing inventions, while continuing to protect genuine innovations.

The Patents Bill was first drafted in 2008 and in 2010, the Commerce Select Committee recommended a total ban on software patents. However a government committee reversed that plan in August there was an outcry.

The theory was that the changes had been made to accommodate the US as New Zealand is involved in negotiations with Washington to sign a treaty known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

Although the US has been anti-troll, it is also pro-copyright and this has led some trade negotiators to defend software patents with the same vigour as they so Hollywood blockbusters.

Yet the feeling is that patents do not work for software. It is almost impossible for technology companies to create new software without breaching some of the hundreds of thousands of software patents that exist, often for obvious work.

Still it does mean that there will be one class of troll which will not be able to audition for the next Peter Jackson flick.