2013-08-29

In historic vote, New Zealand bans software patents | Ars Technica

In historic vote, New Zealand bans software patents | Ars Technica

In my personal opinion, this is great news. I have had to sift through patent applications from software vendors that have clearly been created by simply sending a bunch of interface files to a lawyer to be translated in to patentese. You know the sort of thing, an API call like Student.GetName(id) becomes a 'claim' in which a string representation of a student's name is obtained from a system with a stored representation of a student's registration information, etc, etc. If we carry on as we are, someone will have to write an Eclipse plug-in that generates the patent application every time you build your software.

So this news is a ray of hope. It isn't a blanket "IP law is bad" bill but a measured way of enshrining the basic principle that software 'as such' is not an invention. There will always be the odd counterexample where something is no longer patentable that we might feel should be (and vice versa!) but ever since I've been following this debate it seems to me that the system has stayed the same not for lack of suggestions of how to make it better but because of FUD around change. Thank you NZ for being bolder.

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