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New Zealand To Allow Software Patents

by Mary Swire, for LawAndTax-News.com, Hong Kong

16 July 2010


New Zealand's Commerce Minister Simon Power has instructed the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand to develop guidelines to allow inventions that contain embedded software to be patented.

"IPONZ will formulate draft guidelines and seek the views of interested parties," Power announced on July 15.

The government says that the process will begin once the Patents Bill has passed its final stages in Parliament.

"My decision follows a meeting with the chair of the Commerce Committee where it was agreed that a further amendment to the bill is neither necessary nor desirable," added Power.

When the Commerce Committee reported the bill back to Parliament in March it recommended that computer programmes not be a patentable invention.

During its consideration of the bill, the committee received many submissions opposing the granting of patents for computer programs on the grounds it would stifle innovation and restrict competition.

It also considered that companies investing in inventions involving "embedded" computer programs should be able to obtain patent protection for these inventions.

The committee and the minister accept this position.

TAGS: patents | commerce | law | intellectual property | e-commerce | legislation | New Zealand

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