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InternetNZ: "No to software patents"

22 Apr 2010

Internet New Zealand has backed the Commerce Select Committee and Minister Hon Simon Power's view that software should not be patentable.

"It is excellent to see New Zealand aligning with the approach taken in the European Union and many other jurisdictions," said 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."

InternetNZ says that the internet relies on software to underpin its functioning and that 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 company adds that 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." Earlier this week the New Zealand Computer Society, which represents ICT professionals, also came out in strong support for the Commerce Select Committee's recommendation to remove software patents.

Last week the New Zealand ICT said that the Select Committee recommendation to abandon software patents was "worrying for New Zealand".