This is significant. As we've previously pointed out software patents aren't black and white, and there are certainly pros and cons. However on balance, we believe they represent a far greater risk to smaller NZ-based software providers than opportunity, and there are many cases where they have significantly stifled innovation.
We believe it's near impossible for software to be developed without breaching some of the hundreds of thousands of software patents awarded around the world, hence many software companies in New Zealand, creating outstanding and innovative software, live a constant risk that their entire business will be wound up overnight due to litigious action by a patent holder.
This has led to many a "patent troll" company, primarily in the US. These are non-software companies who exist only to buy up old patents with the sole intention of suing innovative software companies for apparent breach of these patents. The effects of this have been chilling.