The latest newsletter (13 May 2013) is included below.
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|Subject: Weekly Email – 13 May 2013|
Patentology - week in review
Kiwis Compromise on Software PatentsIf you have been following the latest patent-related news from New Zealand, you could be forgiven for thinking that country has just become the first in the world to introduce an outright ban on 'software patents'.
In fact, the truth is much less dramatic. What New Zealand is now proposing to do (it is not law yet) is to implement a system substantially based on UK law, which is in turn based on a 'computer program' exclusion provided in the European Patent Convention.
As anyone familiar with European and UK law would be aware, while there are meaningful restrictions on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions in those jurisdictions, it is far from being the case that nothing which might be described as a 'software patent' is validly granted in Europe.
In truth, the New Zealand Government is proposing nothing more radical than has already been implemented in other parts of the world. Importantly, however, this compromise might just remove what appears to be the final barrier to New Zealand (finally) passing a modern patent law.
New Zealand Resolves ‘Software Patent’ Impasse
Add It UpPatents of addition are rare - almost mythical - beasts, despite having been provided for in some form since the very first Australian Commonwealth Patents Act of 1903.
The purpose of a patent of addition is to allow an applicant to obtain a second patent for a new, but perhaps non-inventive, variation of an invention already claimed in an earlier patent. The second patent is limited, in that it may not outlive the first, enabling the patentee’s rights to be insured, but not improperly extended.
One reason why patents of addition may have been sighted only rarely in the past few decades is that the standard of inventive step in Australia has been so low that most improvements and modifications of existing inventions would themselves be considered inventive. As a result, there has been little need for patents of addition.
The equivalent US mechanism, the 'terminal disclaimer', is far less uncommon. Which leads me to think that following the recent 'Raising the Bar' reforms, patents of addition may gain a new lease on life in Australia.
Raising the Bar – New Life for Patents of Addition?
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