The last minute insertion yesterday by Supplementary
Order Paper (SOP) of two words into the Patents Bill has
made the difference between good legislation and bad, in our
The late amendment ensures that computer implemented
inventions remain patentable. The change brings New Zealand into
line with international norms and was achieved in spite of strong
opposition from the "free software
The SOP inserts the words "as such" to provide
protection for innovative software while excluding pure computer
programs from the patents regime.
The move is in line with the European approach and is a solution
which Chapman Tripp
proposed in March last year, although we would have preferred
that the ban was removed from the Bill altogether in keeping with
Australian and US practice.
The patentability of software had been the final sticking point
in years of fitful consultation over the new law. We think the
Government has made the right call.
Much at stake
The Government has made a small but important decision in the
interests of inventors, the New Zealand economy and New
Zealand's obligations under international law.
It did so despite staunch lobbying from the "free and open
source" software movement who reckon that software should be,
well, free. An enduring difficulty with "free software"
is that it robs inventors of the incentive to innovate and create
new material if others can simply free-ride on that investment.
We look forward to the enactment of the amended Patents
The explanatory note to the SOP records that this approach is
"more consistent with New Zealand's international
obligations... and overseas precedents". We agree.
The information in this article is for informative purposes
only and should not be relied on as legal advice. Please contact
Chapman Tripp for advice tailored to your situation.
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By its judgment dated March 15, 2013, the Madras High Court ("the Court") held
that the amendment made in the year 2005 ("2005 Amendment") to section 126 of the
Patents Act, 1970 ("the Act") pertaining to the qualifications for registration as patent agents is unconstitutional.
The practice of parallel importing is a hot topic in Australia at the moment.
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