13 May 2013

Software patent decision praised

9:02 pm on 13 May 2013

An IT company is praising the Government's decision not to enforce patents on computer software.

Commerce Minister Craig Foss has announced changes to the Patents Bill making it clear software cannot be patented unless it has a physical effect, such as software that runs a washing machine.

A part-owner and director of Catalyst IT, Don Christie, says allowing software to be patented inhibits innovation and can lead to expensive lawsuits with multinational firms like Microsoft.

Mr Christie says the decision protects the freedom of developers to adapt and improve on the ideas behind existing computer programs.

A patent attorney says the decision provides more certainty for the industry.

Matt Adams, an attorney at AJ Park, says more work is needed to define exactly where to draw the line between what can and can't be patented.

However, Mr Adams says it is a step in the right direction and should be easy for multinational firms to understand given that there are similar laws in Europe.

Mr Adams says patent law reform has been underway for 10 years and it is good to see progress being made.