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InternetNZ agrees - no to software patents

InternetNZ agrees - no to software patents

InternetNZ (Internet New Zealand Inc) agrees with the Commerce Select Committee and Minister Hon Simon Power that software should not be patentable. InternetNZ outlined its position in a submission to the Committee in July 2009.

"It is excellent to see New Zealand aligning with the approach taken in the European Union and many other jurisdictions," says InternetNZ Policy Director Jordan Carter. "Countries that have tried software patents have encountered issues with patenting of "obvious" inventions and significant misuse of the patent process."

In InternetNZ's submission it was noted that the Internet relies on software to underpin its functioning. Everyone who uses or benefits from the Internet has an interest in how software development is undertaken. "In our view, allowing for the patentability of software would make its continued development more difficult, which is not in the public interest."

The submission says software patents reduce innovation. "Patent owners can more easily monopolise a market than without such protection; such patents induce a chilling effect among software writers who would have to be checking their creative work against patents at every step; interoperability of various software platforms can be compromised if one type of platform obtains a patent over a key inventive step that others would have to replicate so as to allow end-to-end connectivity or service between systems."

The submission says production of software contains no inventive step. The inventive step is in the creation of algorithms and algorithms by themselves are not patentable. "It is like the plot of a book or movie. Different books (and movies) can have similar plots but they express it in many different ways. If there are patents on software then it prevents alternative encoding of the algorithm. Copyright is the appropriate protection in both cases."

InternetNZ's full patent submission from July 2009 can be found here: h


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