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New Zealand Software Patent Law 'betrays' Developers

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New Zealand Commerce Minister Craig Foss has advanced a proposed software patent measure that contains an exemption for software embedded in other inventions. Foss says an amendment to the Patents Bill would mean that computer programs will not be patentable unless they are inventions that have embedded computer programs. The New Zealand Open Source Society says the government has left open a loophole that will be exploited by large corporations to patent their software in New Zealand.

"With this decision, the national government appears to be showing whose side it's really on: After leading us down the garden path for two years, we now know it's not on the side of New Zealand software developers," the organization argues.

Documents obtained under Freedom of Information law reveal that in 2010, Microsoft and the Business Software Alliance (BSA) requested New Zealand's Ministry for Economic Development to remove an existing clause that prohibits all software patents. Microsoft, the BSA, IBM, and the NZICT industry association met with the ministry in 2010, according to documents, and NZICT was reported to be pleased with the ministry's comments that the law would be amended to allow embedded software to be patented. Foss asserts that the legislation would "protect genuine innovations and encourage Kiwi businesses to export and grow."

From ZDNet Australia
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Abstracts Copyright © 2012 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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