31st mar, 2010

New Zealand moves to ban software patents…sort of

I read a story in Computer World New Zealand on how NZ had banned software patents. Being one of my favourite subjects I investigated that interesting story. I found that it´s not all true. Firstly the story is about a parliamentary committee giving its opinion about a new patent law, that’s not the same as a new law. Secondly the proposed move will ban patents on computer programs but not computer-implemented inventions. The proposed provision  (15, 3A) is much like the similar wording in the EPC, with one exception – there is no “as such” provision.
The question is if this adjustment is compliant with international conventions e.g. TRIPS which requires that patents are available in all technical fields.
There is still a long way to go before patents on computer programmes are banned in NZ, but the headline was tabloid enough to catch my attention. Let’s not hope that the storey will be used in other parts of the world as a proof that patents on computer-programs are forbidden.

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