Last week's announcement that Commerce Minister Craig Foss had submitted a Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) to alter the wording of the Patents Bill prior to its second reading in Parliament rightly raised the ire of the New Zealand software industry.
His seemingly minor change, though perhaps well intentioned, amounts to a reversal of the original wording which excluded software from patentability. By adopting the same poor wording as that used in the European Union's patent legislation, the Minister is creating a bonza for IP lawyers and a nightmare for productive software developers.
The NZOSS strongly supports the spirit of the original working which explicitly excludes software from patentability, and calls on the Minister to consider a remedy to the uncertainty his new wording has created.
We fully endorse the No Software Patents Petition which requests a specific change to the SOP wording which addresses the shortcomings of the Minister's changed wording, and which is gathering momentum with broad support from the New Zealand software industry. The website hosting the petition provides background on the issue: the problem created by the SOP, and the requested remedy.
The NZOSS calls on all New Zealand-based software developers: make your voices heard - and spread the word!