NZOSS expects powerful opposition to patent reform

The New Zealand Open Source Society is expecting powerful interests to bring pressure on the government to reverse plans to exclude software from patent protection in New Zealand.

In a post on the NZOSS website yesterday, vice president Peter Harrison applauded the Commerce Select Committee's recommendation to exclude software from patent protection and responded to critics of the proposal.

"In all honesty it was very unexpected that we would be able to change the direction of this legislation. That we have put forward a argument that was sufficiently compelling means our hard work over the last several years has indeed born fruit," Harrison says.

"Of course we are not naive. This is certainly not the end of the line; the Government must adopt the report of the Commerce Committee and pass the legislation. We sincerely hope that the Government will adopt the careful deliberations of the Commerce Committee and carry forward the legislation as proposed by the Commerce Committee. There are many powerful interests who will be very upset by this decision, and no doubt they will bring every influence they have to bear on changing this decision."

Harrison then responds to two law firms who have been critical of patent exclusion on their websites.

Ken Moon, of intellectual property specialist AJ Park, criticised the recommendation on a number of grounds, saying the requirements for inventiveness under patent law are the same as for any other invention. He also noted issues with embedded software and that New Zealand's position appears to be diverging from Australia's, despite attempts to harmonise business between the two countries.