NZOSS: Software Patent Exclusion vs TPP :: A Fair Deal

The issue is software patents. In NZ software is currently patentable merely because the Patents Act 1953 predated the widespread existence of software, and therefore does not specifically exclude it. Unlike mechanical inventions, software which is essentially written instructions for a computer, is also protected by copyright, as books, music and other expressions of creativity are. The NZOSS membership, along with most kiwi software developers, believe that copyright is sufficient protection, and that software patents are both unnecessary and actually detrimental to the industry. One need only look as far as the legal spectacles created by software patent disputes between major corporations in the US and EU to see the wealth they squander ??? as much as half a trillion dollars wasted since 1990 according to one academic study.

The Private and Social Costs of Patent Trolls

In the past, non-practicing entities (NPEs) ??? firms that license patents without producing goods ??? have facilitated technology markets and increased rents for small inventors. Is this also true for today???s NPEs? Or are they ???patent trolls??? who opportunistically litigate over software patents with unpredictable boundaries? Using stock market event studies around patent lawsuit filings, we find that NPE lawsuits are associated with half a trillion dollars of lost wealth to defendants from 1990 through 2010, mostly from technology companies. Moreover, very little of this loss represents a transfer to small inventors. Instead, it implies reduced innovation incentives.


Yet another exclusive legislative right gamed and abused by greed.