Software patent laws

date: 30 August 2012
reading time: 2 min

In the past few days, the New Zealand government has announced it will go ahead with its plans to ban patents on software. However, a controversial last minute change to the plans means that software embedded in other inventions will be patentable.

In the past few days, the New Zealand government has announced it will go ahead with its plans to ban patents on software. However, a controversial last minute change to the plans means that software embedded in other inventions will be patentable. The proposed law is supposed to bring New Zealand in line with European Union Patent regulations, yet many feel that the last minute addendum defeats this purpose. Proponents argue that it is fairer and will help to attract business from companies like Microsoft. Those against it say that the government has missed the opportunity to create a unique selling point for open source companies.  Interestingly, the local technology industry body (NZICT) supports the new clause. Here in Poland, as part of the EU, we follow the European Union regulations on software patents, just as in the UK. And I do not expect that the EU software patent law will lead to any adverse affect on the software development industry or the quality of our work. Rather I believe it will improve creativity and innovation.

Open source has a strong following in Poland and while we are a certified Microsoft Partner we also do open source development. On the whole the EU provides us with fair and balanced regulations and I think Future Processing definitely benefits from operating in a company that is part of the EU.

I can understand the depth of feeling that the proposed law, and its new clause, has stirred up in the New Zealand tech industry – the supposed ‘battle’ between proprietary and open source is a well-worn one. I hope that once the dust has settled on this debate the country’s new law works well for them.

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