InternetNZ welcomes Government announcement on software patents

09 May 2013

InternetNZ (Internet New Zealand Inc) welcomes today's tabling of a Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) that makes it clear that computer software is not patentable in New Zealand.

The SOP will amend a section of the Patents Bill dealing with computer software, drawing to a close years of wrangling between software developers, ICT players and multinational heavyweights over the vexed issue of patentability of software.

The question of software patents has been an important issue for InternetNZ for several years. InternetNZ has previously made submissions on the issue, noting that software is inextricably linked to the good functioning of the Internet. Patenting software would not only make the continued development of the Internet more difficult, it would reduce innovation and could well stymie interoperability of various software platforms.

InternetNZ spokesperson Susan Chalmers says InternetNZ is happy to see the issue now resolved and looks forward to the passage and implementation of the Patents Bill, a long-awaited and much needed update to a large component of New Zealand's intellectual property regime.

"We look forward to the innovation-enabling effects that this law will encourage. One way it will do that is through introducing clarity. Often, intellectual property laws have a chilling effect on innovation because those who want to build or design software just don't want to take the risk on new projects for fear of facing legal action.  

"With greater clarity, New Zealand firms will have the benefit of a regulatory environment that encourages them to go ahead and innovate," she says.

For more information contact:

Susan Chalmers
Policy Lead
InternetNZ
susan@internetnz.net.nz
021 284 7065