Universal support for exclusion of software patents

Yesterday the Government announced a final amendment to the Patents Bill intended to clarify that software is not patentable. This now looks set to be supported by all political parties, meaning that Parliament will unanimously vote to ban software patents.

I have written about the new amendment on the Institute of IT Professionals website. Here’s some other, so-far universally positive, reactions.

Commerce Minister Craig Foss, announcing the amendment:

These changes ensure the Bill is consistent with the intention of the Commerce Select Committee recommendation that computer programs should not be patentable.

Labour IT spokeswoman Clare Curran:

This is a victory for our industry, which is worth around 11% of our GDP.

Institute of IT Professionals (NZ’s largest IT representative body):

The Institute of IT Professionals, New Zealand’s largest IT representative body, strongly supports the Government’s announcement today clarifying that software will not be patentable in New Zealand, removing a major barrier to software-led innovation.

Ian McCrae, CEO of Orion Health – New Zealand’s largest software exporter:

We welcome this announcement… In general, software patents are counter-productive, often used obstructively and get in the way of innovation.

John Ascroft, CIO of leading NZ software company Jade Corporation:

We believe the patent process is onerous, not suited to the software industry, and challenges our investment in innovation.

InternetNZ policy lead Susan Chalmers:

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.

Digital technology business group NZRise:

NZRise are delighted that, after years of representations by the NZ digital community, the Government has agreed not to allow patents on software in New Zealand.

New Zealand Open Source Society:

Commerce Minister Craig Foss’ SOP237 – announced today – demonstrates the government’s commitment to ending software patents in NZ… the vast majority of New Zealand software professionals support blocking software patents and will breath a sigh of relief that the spectre of US-style software patent litigation is now unlikely to affect us here.

Blogger David Farrar:

There had been considerable concern that the previous proposed wording with the “as such” clause could lead to a lack of clarity in the law, and that it might not achieve its intention that software is not patentable. This extra clause provides that clarity and is excellent news from the Government and Minister.

Forbes blogger Reuven Cohen:

In doing this, New Zealand is essentially taking the position that existing laws provides enough protection to software as it is; patents only serve to stifle innovation because of the ever-looming threat of being sued by so-called patent troll companies.

Glyn Moody covers the story at TechDirt:

… let’s hope it means that the latest wording won’t need changing again, and that the updated bill banning software patents finally gets passed.

It has also popped up on Slashdot.