By Rob O’Neill | August 28, 2013 — 10:54 GMT (03:54 PDT)
New Zealand has finally passed a new Patents Bill that will effectively outlaw software patents after five years of debate, delay, and intense lobbying from multinational software vendors.
Aptly named Commerce Minister Craig Foss welcomed the modernization of the patents law, saying it marked a “significant step towards driving innovation in New Zealand”.
“By clarifying the definition of what can be patented, we are giving New Zealand businesses more flexibility to adapt and improve existing inventions, while continuing to protect genuine innovations,” Foss said.
The nearly unanimous passage of the Bill was also greeted by Institute of IT Professionals (IITP) chief executive Paul Matthews, who congratulated Foss for listening to the IT industry and ensuring that software patents were excluded.
Matthews said it was a breakthrough day “where old law met modern technology and came out on the side of New Zealand’s software innovators”.