JAX London 2014: A retrospective
Software Patents

New Zealand Will Not Modify The Patents Bill

Jessica Thornsby

Commerce Minister Simon Power has announced that New Zealand won’t be modifying the proposed Patents Bill, therefore software will be unpatentable in New Zealand once the Bill passes into law.

While considering the Patents Bill, the committee received submissions opposing the granting of patents for computer programs, citing that such a patent would “stifle innovation and restrict competition.”

This move not to amend the Bill has met with plenty of positive reactions. Paul Matthews wrote that “it’s near impossible for software to be developed without breaching some of the hundreds of thousands of software patents awarded around the world, hence many software companies in New Zealand, creating outstanding and innovative software, live a constant risk that their entire business will be wound up overnight due to litigious action by a patent holder.” In Matthews’ view, copyright protection on software is enough, and patenting will only encourage “patent troll” companies.

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