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New Zealand Draft Patent Law Rewritten After Microsoft Meeting 120

ciaran_o_riordan writes "After two private meetings with Microsoft and IBM, New Zealand's proposed new patent legislation has been changed by 'replacing an exclusion in clause 15(3A) (which relates to computer programs) with new clause 10A. Rather than excluding a computer program from being a patentable invention, new clause 10A clarifies that a computer program is not an invention for the purposes of the Bill.' The difference is that the new 10A clause contains the 'as such' loophole — the wording that is used by the European Patent Office to grant software patents. This is the same Patents Bill launched in 2009."
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New Zealand Draft Patent Law Rewritten After Microsoft Meeting

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  • by BSAtHome ( 455370 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @08:16PM (#41159477)

    Surely, part of the lawyer workforce will be outsourced to squeeze the kiwis (it is like pressing lemons, just more sweet). Wasn't that the point of the meeting?

  • Meetings, hey? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Everything Else Was ( 786676 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @08:23PM (#41159557)
    Sounds like the kind of 'private meetings' where large sums of money change hands.
  • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @08:45PM (#41159815)

    The idea is sound in principle (government regulates corporations to keep them from being abusive). But in practice the government usually lets the corporations *write* the regulations so they regs end-up being favorable to corporations and/or allows them immunity when they abuse their power.

    This revised patent law is one example. Another example is the recent U.S. Whistleblower regulation that requires employees who observe illegal activities to tell their boss (and then they get fired). So basically the corporations write the law to protect themselves from prosecution. This regulation was passed by a Democrat Congress and Democrat president.

  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @09:47PM (#41160431)
    You're a tool. There is no difference between the Democrat and Republican parties. Keep falling for this horseshit idea that one of the parties is "Evil" and the other is "Good" and you'll just keep perpetuating the same old fucking nonsense that's been going on for 100 years now. Obama invaded MORE countries than Bush did for fucks sake. He ordered the assassination of a US citizen without trial. He ordered the death of Bin Laden after he was already in custody. They executed the guy in front of his family then dumped him in the ocean. Democrats and Republicans work together toward the same goal: POWER
  • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @10:20PM (#41160787)

    I am against software patents because I think software patents all cover algorithms which are fundamentally unpatentable material.

    The farce that software patents must include an implementation component, that is a computer is transparently baloney. Computers are a general purpose computing device for which there are no known algorithmic limits. It is like saying that an algorithm is patentable because it can be executed on a general purpose mathematical universe. It is not a fundamental distinction.

  • by Kittenman ( 971447 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @10:32PM (#41160913)

    ^^ What he said. Those who voted in the National Government chose to elect a party that is well known for its position supporting business (over the individual).

    There's reports that around 1 Million NZ'rs (out of ~4.4M) didn't vote in the last election. There's still a chance to have an affect on the outcomes if enough of the apathetic step up and make their voices heard. Unfortunately for laws such as this, many folks don't see it as affecting them, and will remain oblivious...

    Yes i'm cynical about it. :(

    I'm one of the 1 million who didn't vote in NZ. I don't believe any of the parties reflect my personal views. I'm not apathetic, I'm disenchanted.

    And before someone rants on about the need to take part in the democratic process, this isn't a democracy. This is an elective oligarchy. The last democracy in the world was about 300 BCE, in Athens.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @10:41PM (#41160993)

    Le Roi est morte, vive le Roi!

    Perhaps you were being ironic. "The King is dead; long live the King" means that the moment the king dies, another takes his place, so that we are never faced with the horror of being free from rule for even a second. So yes the downpressors might collapse in a heap of ash and dust, and we may be free of them perhaps for a moment until new ones come along with Fresh new ideas about how to squeeze the vise to extract more money from people. Is the moment worth waiting through all the "And then..."s?

    In the meanwhile, while we wait out the workings of the barons, I guess at least we can pretend that they're not really being all that effective at keeping people down, and we can tell ourselves that everybody has equality, freedom, and a fair shot at life.

  • I'm against patents because everyone is simply working by the old unproven hypothesis that patents are beneficial to society. I'm a scientist, so Prove It! In order to prove whether patents are beneficial or not we must run the experiment: Abolish them and see what happens. We didn't always have software patents, or patents at all (Ugg isn't cited as the "inventor" of fire), so we have a data point that lends credence to the idea that we don't actually need the artificial scarcity that patents and copyright create. The fashion and automotive industries also lack copyright and design patents, yet remain innovative in design, which furthers my argument for abolishing patents. No one has conclusive proof that patents are beneficial to society. Additionally, things have changed so drastically since patents and copyright were created that we need to abolish them now more than ever to see if the dawning of the Information Age has made them obsolete ideas or not.

    A writer can say: Nope, not going to write this book unless I'll get paid for doing it. A software engineer can say: Nope, not going to create software unless I get paid for doing it. A musician can say: Nope, I just need to get paid when I do work, like everyone else -- Hey, guess what? Musicians already do get most of their pay via working (concerts) and merchandise, not via selling artificially scarce copies. Software engineers already get paid to make software whether or not the patent lawyer comes around and asks them: "Did you create anything this month that might be patentable?" No software engineer is searching the patent database for solutions they can implement and license -- We all just do the job. In fact, I've been instructed on a few jobs to Never access the PTO database from the office -- Treble damages if you have prior knowledge. Technology companies only benefit by patents via weaponizing them, this hurts competition. Furthermore, If it's possible to accidently stumble across a patent, then it's damn obvious by definition.

    So, This person is actually against ALL patents, including software patents. I find the idea that software can be an original invention to be ridiculous because the first time someone accidentally infringes a patent via "independent invention" they're prohibited from using it while someone else is allowed to use the idea. That means you're awarding the research of one inventor and Punishing all the other researchers that come across the idea later. Why do you think the FIRST person to think of something should be the ONLY person to benefit from their own work? Software patents are by and large OBVIOUS, otherwise we wouldn't be stumbling across them. The non obvious ones aren't needed since no one accidentally implements them. WE EXPLICITLY TRY NOT TO LOOK AT THEM! THE PATENTS ARE WORTHLESS!

  • Re:Meetings, hey? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Antonovich ( 1354565 ) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @02:37AM (#41162621)
    Not really. Kiwis are not corrupt, just naïve and often a bit stupid. It's too small and too far away to maintain a critical mass of intellect. The people that stay (I didn't) are easily impressed by megacorps like Microsoft and IBM and these "experts" are usually believed. These guys work for MIcrosoft! That's what a computer is, right? They must be soooo brainy, we'd better do what they say! I may be painting it a bit darker than it really is - they aren't nearly as stupid as most anglo-saxons but that's not very difficult either...
  • Re:Good! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @03:11AM (#41162835) Homepage Journal

    No. If it's satire, it's very good satire, because it's nearly indistinguishable from many comments I've seen on /. and elsewhere that I'm quite sure were entirely sincere.

  • Re:Meetings, hey? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @04:57AM (#41163435)

    it is not the arguing, it is the fact that private entities may obtain closed door meetings where the arguments, convincing or not, are unheard from the population that the government ought to represent.

  • How it went down (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Legion303 ( 97901 ) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @06:37AM (#41163971) Homepage

    "Nice country you got here, New Zealand (*knocks framed picture off desk*). Oops, sorry about that. Accidents happen from time to time, if you catch my drift. Say, I hear you're drafting some new patent law. Why don't my boys here go over it with you to check for grammar and the like?"

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie