02 July 2010

Update on Proposed NZ Computer Program Exclusion

We previously reported here on the New Zealand Commerce Committee's recommendation that computer programs be excluded from patentability.

In more recent developments, New Zealand opposition MP Clare Curran has reported on the Labour Party blog Red Alert that NZ Commerce Minister Simon Power has twice publicly indicated that the government would support the computer program exclusion, but that "backroom lobbying by the organisation [NZICT] that includes major software patenters has resulted in the Ministry of Economic Development backing away from the Commerce Committee’s recommendation and instead redrafting the Bill along the lines of the European Convention."

This sounds like a step in the right direction, although as we noted earlier we would foresee some difficulties in importing European law into the very different New Zealand Patents Bill.

In other developments, we are aware that both the New Zealand Institute of Patent Attorneys and the Institute of Patent and Trademark Attorneys of Australia have written to the New Zealand Commerce Minister expressing the profession's concerns about the proposed exclusion and the manner of its introduction.

We will continue to keep an eye on further developments.

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