Patents Bill won't pass before election: Curran, Finlayson

NetHui attendees told Bill sits too far down the Parliamentary order

The Patents Bill, with its controversial exclusion of patent on software, will almost certainly not make it into law before the election, attendees at the NetHui organised by InternetNZ in Auckland have heard.

This poses the prospect of another rethink on the way the software clause is interpreted should the government change.

Opposition ICT spokesperson Clare Curran repeated her recent Parliamentary question to Commerce Minister Simon Power on why the Bill was taking so long to proceed to its final stages. Power had replied by pointing to the huge load of work still facing Parliament.

Curran reported Power’s answer and suggested the implication is that the Patents Bill will not “make the cut” in the few remaining weeks before Parliament stops for the election campaign.

Attorney-General Chris Finlayson, sitting on a panel on globalisation, the internet and the law, agreed that the Bill was almost certain not to pass into law in the remaining few weeks of the current term. It currently sits at 51 on the Parliamentary order paper.

Several delegates pointed to the contrast of this delay with the passing of the Copyright (Infringing File-sharing) Bill under urgency.

Curran also reported that Power had said he has not changed his position on the software exclusion, despite several critical submissions in response to the publication of draft guidelines by the Intellectual Property Office of NZ (IPONZ).

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