New Zealand Just Got Saner Software Patent Laws

New Zealand Just Got Saner Software Patent Laws

After five years of debate and lobbying from major multinational software patent holders, some sanity has been brought into New Zealand’s software patent system.

New Zealand has announced that they will no longer approve meritless software patents describing age old processes solely because they are now done in a computer.

However they will still approve software patents of processes they deem new inventions, and give the example of a new firmware for a washing machine that provides incremental improvements. In other words, this bill is not a total ban of software patents, but a means to bring some sanity to them. Very laudable at that, since they were constricted by TRIPS treaty, an international agreement that set minimum standards for IP protection.

Unsurprisingly, in a recent poll of over 1 000 New Zealand IT professionals across the sector, around 94 % of those with a view wanted to see software patents gone. You can read the full bill here.

Featured image is CC BY-ND Aaron Anderer.