Pat Pilcher has written another good piece in the NZ Herald about the looming changes to NZ’s patent laws which could have provided a serious kickstart to oru software industry, but which won’t becasue of a stupid last minute amendment by Commerce Minister Craig Foss who has been heavied by the multinational software comapnies. And our own Ministries.
The hope held out by many was that software would be excluded from being covered by patents, however it now appears that the government is likely to change patent legislation so that software can be patented.
Even though the Commerce Select Committee and numerous industry experts have all recommended that software be excluded from patentability, amendments made to the bill after pressure was placed on the government could be sufficiently vague that software could end up being patented.
This, say the experts, would provide large lawyered-up multinationals with a means of tying smaller kiwi software developers up in court, effectively stunting our home-grown software industry.
Indications are that even though the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) had agreed that software should be excluded from patents and were confident that this wouldn’t impact on trade treaties, sources indicate that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (who are currently in the midst of negotiating the trans pacific partnership trade agreement) are said to now be somewhat less enthusiastic about excluding software from patents.