NZ Computer Society on Software Patents

Paul Matthews, CEO of the NZCS, sent an email to the NZOSS "open chat" list outlining the his position with regards to software patents. Paul has kindly given us permission to reproduce that email below:


In regards to Software Patents, I would like to first say that we believe that everyone has a fundamental right to protect their own property, and consequently support the *concept* of Copyright and Intellectual Property.

However this has to be balanced against the huge damage software patents have caused to the ICT sector in overseas jurisdictions - it hasn't been pretty. And this isn't just to small entrepreneurial start-ups - large multinational corporates have been victimised by patent squatters on multiple occasions, and in many cases have led the charge AGAINST them.

Software patents might be okay as a concept, however have often led to what I certainly believe are ridiculous outcomes that have affected all computer users. One only has to explore the Eolas/Flash situation to see how a software patent has very negatively impacted on users of the web, and there are plenty of other examples.

NZCS represents a broad church of ICT professionals and we recognise that our members have different views on software patents (as with many things), however in the same way that Section 92a was unacceptably harmful (while trying to achieve something we support as an organisation - protection of IP), on balance the evidence appears clear that software patents are simply too harmful to our sector, and in fact all of New Zealand, to support.

We were very happy to see Software Patents removed from the Bill and will be making it very clear to Government that we would be very disappointed to see them make an unwelcome return.


Paul Matthews, BSc, MNZCS ITCP
Chief Executive | NZ Computer Society Inc