Breaking Ground?

After posting a number (very few against the almost infinite amount) of articles which talk about the drawn out conflicts over patent breaches on Diigo, I stumbled across something which I believe is a significant step in the other direction; New Zealand are preparing to vote on a new patent reform bill. The exceptional element in this reform is the exclusion of software patents.

With every major digital/tech/comms company company tied up in fierce and drawn out litigation over who owns what and who’s intellectual terriory is being invaded and plundered of its worth, it is interesting to see that New Zealand have acknowledged the detriment of patenting on the development and continuing innovation of software, particularly as so much new software development is derived from existing software.

The bill also recognises the significance of open source which has become an almost irreplaceable form of software provision to the digital community. Many major companies use open source for their commercial products which has also often result in legal conflict, take HTC vs Apple as a recent example (also one example of MANY). It is encouraging to see this bill considers the moving forward from patents to the open source model.

The New Zealand Commerce Comittee have included this clause in the bill after directly reviewing feedback from the software industry, and have also made allowances for companies- still allowing them to patent hardware which encompasses embedded software.

You can find detailed information on the Patents Bill here.

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