New Zealand government bans software patents

Software developers in New Zealand now have reason to rejoice. After nearly half a decade spent in argument, the New Zealand government has passed a new patent bill that will ban the enforcement of software patents in the country, according to GamePlanet.

This is a huge move for the country, since it basically means that software developers in the region will no longer be able to monopolise specific designs and concepts. The possibility of increased innovation and development without these restrictions is considerable. New Zealand’s Commerce Minister, Craig Foss, said that the decision is a “significant step” on the path towards increased software innovation in the country.

Rationsalising his stance, he added, “By clarifying the definition of what can be patented, we are giving New Zealand businesses more flexibility to adapt and improve existing inventions, while continuing to protect genuine innovations.”


New Zealand is not the only country to have placed a ban on software patents. In April 2005, the Indian parliament also squashed a clause to include software patents.  

Judge Koh is deciding whether this could be a class action lawsuit (image credit: GettyImages)

The New Zealand government has passed a new patent law (image credit: GettyImages)


Explaining the importance of this decision for New Zealand, Institute of IT Professionals Chief Executive, Paul Matthews, said, “The patents system doesn’t work for software because it is almost impossible for genuine technology companies to create new software without breaching some of the hundreds of thousands of software patents that exist, often for very obvious work.”


Many local game developers have also shown their support for this new development. Mario Wynanads, Managing Director of PikPok, said, “The software patent ban in New Zealand is a great step towards the legal system and government in general supporting the software industry, and is a sign of recognition for how software innovation actually occurs.”

Speaking about the long-term consequences of the decision, Wynanads added, “It will be very interesting to see how other markets respond to this move by New Zealand. We are aware of major patents in the gaming space such as the ‘Ghost Car’ patent currently held by Warner Bros., and the ‘loading screen minigame’ patent held by Namco, which we consciously stay away from as do others. Not being restricted by those patents downstream could certainly help make our games and those of others better.”

Updated Date: Aug 30, 2013 12:46 PM