Fight against patented software cranks up
"The minister is incorrect when he says the bill will protect genuine innovations. All it will protect is the enormous defensive patent arsenals of the established multinational giants."Featured comment
The fight against an amended Patents Bill will continue, despite passing its second reading.
Commerce minister Craig Foss says the bill will mean a computer programme itself will not be patentable, yet a device such as a digital camera or washing machine, which makes use of the programme, will be patentable.
But the move has raised concerns and anger among industry players.
New Zealand Open Source Society president David Lane is inviting New Zealand-based software developers to make their voices heard through a website petition.
Mr Lane says the seemingly minor wording change will create a "bonza" for IP lawyers and a nightmare for productive software developers.
Labour’s communications and IT spokeswoman Clare Curran had tried to introduce an alternative amended clause and was reasonably confident she had the numbers to do so.
She believes Mr Foss’ amendment essentially means some lines of code, which are used in embedded software, may never be able to be used again.
“In order to create and develop new software, companies need to be able to build on existing software,” Ms Curran told NBR ONLINE.
She believes this change would stifle development and tie it up in litigation.
But Mr Foss believes the Patents Bill will better align New Zealand law with overseas markets and make it easier to export and grow.
“The Patents Bill will continue to protect genuine innovations, while raising the bar for what can be patented. The current approach to patents is too broad and restricts New Zealand businesses’ ability to adapt and improve existing inventions.”