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Software Patents: Thrown Under A Bus

Software Patents: Thrown Under A Bus

With the removal of the explicit software patent exclusion, and the addition of two tiny words, "as such", the Commerce Minister, Craig Foss, has more or less thrown kiwi software developers under a bus.

The minister may believe that replacing the explicit exclusion of software patents with an "as such" is striking a clever compromise. If that is the case, he needs to be disabused of his mistaken impression: those six letters represent a legal loophole the size of a bus, which have made a mockery European Union patent legislation's intent: to block software patents (see here, here, and here).

Our patent legislation will almost certainly become similarly farcical - the precedents in Europe are clear, and "recipes" for driving around the spirit of the legislation are available for any patent lawyer.

Any hope that our government would show visionary leadership in patent reform seems to have been dashed. This is a victory for US corporations who have refined the art of the "patent infringement extortion", and have broken the software marketplace overseas, using software patents to set back any would-be competitors.

With this decision, the National government appears to be showing whose side it's really on: after leading us down the garden path for two years, we now know it's not on the side of New Zealand software developers. The only word for it is betrayal.

ENDS

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