Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


IT Professionals support removal of Software Patents

IT Professionals support removal of Software Patents

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.

IITP chief executive Paul Matthews said today that while the Institute supports Intellectual Property protection in general, the consensus amongst IT Professionals was that the patent system simply doesn't work for software. Thus today's announcement from Commerce Minister Foss was warmly welcomed.

"The Institute acknowledges this is a complex issue with many arguments for and against patentability of software. However on balance, it is in New Zealand's best interests for software to continue to be covered through the provisions of Copyright in the same way movies and books are, rather than through the patent system which has significant problems," Matthews said.

Discussion on the Patents Bill, currently before Parliament, has been ongoing. In 2010 the Commerce Select Committee considered the issue in depth and unanimously recommending that software not be patentable. This resulted in significant lobbying from patent lawyers and others. In 2012 Minister Foss released a Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) that many believed could reverse this position. However today's SOP from the Minister makes the intentions of the law very clear.

"The Institute thanks Minister Foss for responding to industry concerns, clarifying the Patents Bill's intention to remove patentability of software and for taking extra steps to ensure the law around software patents is clear and unambiguous," Matthews said. "Software will not be patentable in New Zealand and a major barrier to software innovation has been removed".

"We also acknowledge the work of United Future's Peter Dunne, Labour's Clare Curran and other political parties who have listened to the industry's concerns and contributed towards a solution," Matthews said. "It's great that all parties support software-led innovation in New Zealand."

While not unanimous, there is strong consensus from the industry against software patents. "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," Matthews said. Separately, a petition launched by the industry against software patents received over 1,000 signatures in under a week.

"The patent system doesn't work for software. We believe it's near impossible for software to be developed without breaching some of the hundreds of thousands of software patents awarded around the world, often for 'obvious' work," Matthews said. "Thus many software companies in New Zealand, creating outstanding and innovative software, live with a constant risk that their entire business could be threatened due to litigious action by a patent holder."

Ian McCrae, chief executive of New Zealand's largest software exporter Orion Health agreed, saying today "We welcome this announcement. Under the current regime, obvious things are getting patented. You might see a logical enhancement to your software, but you can't do it because someone else has a patent. In general, software patents are counter-productive, often used obstructively and get in the way of innovation. We are a software company and as such, our best protection is to innovate and innovate fast."

John Ascroft, Chief Innovation Officer of Jade Corporation said "We believe the patent process is onerous, not suited to the software industry, and challenges our investment in innovation."

Orion and Jade together account for around 50% of software exports from New Zealand.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Australia Deportations: English Relaxed On Immigration Centre Conditions

Labour's Annette King: “There have been numerous reports from inside these detention centres on just how bad conditions are... If they were being held in any other foreign jail, I imagine Mr English would be somewhat concerned. More>>


Schools: Achievement-Based Funding Would Be A Disaster

The Education Minister’s speech to the PPTA Conference raising the spectre of achievement data driving a new funding system would be disastrous, says NZEI Te Riu Roa. More>>

  • Video Out-Link - PPTA Annual Conference 2015 on Livestream (Q+A dicussion suggests funding would be directed to less successful schools.)

  • ALSO:

    ECE Report:

    Key In NY: Prime Minister Addresses United Nations

    Prime Minister John Key has addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York, focusing on a call for action in Syria and on other conflicts, reform of the veto process and on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. More>>.


    Gordon Campbell: On The Lack Of Accountability Over Philip Smith

    In New Zealand, accountability is an exotic creature rarely glimpsed at ministerial level, or among senior management. The flight to Rio by the paedophile /murderer Philip John Smith/Traynor is no exception. More>>


    More On Corrections

    Gordon Campbell: On Putin’s Diplomatic Coup Over Syria

    There’s a simple historical precedent for what is occurring in Syria. During WWII, the Allies joined forces with a known butcher and tyrant – Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union – in order to defeat a greater evil, Nazi Germany… More>>


    Key 'Didn't Know': Brownlee Seeks Pandas In China

    While Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee is in China pushing a taxpayer funded deal to bring two pandas to New Zealand, the country’s military look set to be hit with a pay freeze, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. More>>


    Scoop Business: GCSB Willing To Extend Cyber-Attack Programme To Local ISPs

    The Government Communications Security Bureau’s ‘Cortex’ cyber-security programme has been successful in helping identify and mitigate a series of cyber attacks since its introduction and an extension to cover local internet service providers is still on the cards... More>>


    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news