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New Zealand Bans Software Patents 150

Nerdfest writes with news that New Zealand has, after going back and forth a couple of times, finally banned software patents. From the article: "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 patents law, saying it marked a 'significant step towards driving innovation in New Zealand'. An IITP poll of members at the time showed 94% of those with a view were in favor of banning software patents."
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New Zealand Bans Software Patents

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  • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @11:59AM (#44697253) Journal

    Since there is no such thing as a "software patent" in law, it's important to understand what has been changed, and to be clear about what could or should be changed. Here's the key wording of the new law. It's not patentable if:

          "A claim in a patent or an application relates to a computer program as such if the actual contribution made by the alleged invention lies solely in it being a computer program."

    In other words, if it's not a new invention, just an old invention with "on a computer" added to the end, it's not patentable. That is, if it's not a new invention if made of wood, it's still not new when made of silicon (or magnetic tracks).

    I'm about as big a defender of "software patents" as you'll find on Slashdot and that to me is obviously right to me. If it's not new, it's not new.
    Putting it on a computer doesn't make it new. Duh and yay for them for explicitly stating what should be obvious.

    What they didn't change, and really can't as a practical matter, is they did not declare that a new invention magically becomes "not new" if it uses a computer.
    If I invent a way to resurrect dinosaurs ala Jurassic Park, and they key invention for doing so is a gene sequencing computer program, that's a new invention.
    The fact that I use software for it neither makes it new nor makes it "not new".

  • by linuxguy ( 98493 ) on Wednesday August 28, 2013 @12:21PM (#44697483) Homepage

    If you knew who Florian Mueller was, you would never quote him on anything.

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.