New Zealand bans software patentsAugust 30, 2013 5:06 pm Leave your thoughts
Much of what we discuss on this blog has to do with patent infringement lawsuits. Whether they are the result of legitimate grievances between two companies or the actions of an aggressive patent troll, it is undeniable that patent infringement lawsuits are exceedingly costly for technology companies and time consuming for courts all over the world.
So, which country will be the first to reform its laws to rein in some of the use (and abuse) of the legal system? According to an article in Silicon Beat, it looks like that country may be New Zealand.
The problem, as Parliament member Clare Curran put it to Ars Technica, is that "[i]t's near impossible for software to be developed without breaching some of the hundreds of thousands of patents granted around the world for obvious work."
After five years of debate, the New Zealand Parliament approved legislation that banned software patents, claiming that a computer program is "not an invention." There will, of course, be some allowances under the law. For example, patents that already exist will not change. In addition, any software that directly leads to new hardware improvements may be patented.
Many observers wonder if this move will spur action in other countries. In the U.S., the Government Accountability Office has found that patent lawsuits have increased by 31 percent since 2010. While 20 percent of these lawsuits in the technology industry were launched by patent trolls, the vast majority came from legitimate companies.
Categorised in: International Business Law
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