Online petition set up to combat change to Patents Bill

A petition endorsed by several ICT industry groups seeks to change a new clause in the Patents Bill introduced last week

Opponents of a late change to the Patents Bill have launched an online petition seeking to garner support for an amendment.

The petition, available at the newly created website No Software Patents in NZ, was launched yesterday. It has the endorsement of the Institute of Information Technology Professionals, InternetNZ, NZ Open Source Society and NZ Rise.

The petition seeks to change clause 10A(2) of the Bill, which was introduced in a Supplmentary Order Paper last week by Commerce Minister Craig Foss. The Bill is expected to have its second reading when Parliament sits next week. Foss has said the government will not refer the new clause back to a select committee for consideration.

“In 2010, a Select Committee unanimously recommended that software be excluded from patentability. Clause 10A(1) of the Patents Bill will achieve this,” a message on the website reads.

“Unfortunately, the Government has decided to add clause 10A(2) at the last minute. While intended to preserve the availability of patents for inventions containing embedded software, this clause actually undermines the intended exclusion of software patents.”

The petition seeks to change the contentious clasue to "preserve the exclusion of software patents, but still preserve patents for inventions containing embedded software”.

The petition has attracted over 130 signatories from owners of technology companies such as Ponoko co-founder Dave ten Have, lobbyist Paul Brislen who is “just representing me” and academic Dr Mariusz Nowostawski from Otago University, who writes: “I am a software designer, architect and developer. I am involved in multiple startup companies, and make my living from making software. I am strongly against software patents in any form, as they inhibit innovation and prohibit small indie companies and developers to innovate.”

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