NZ IPO Guidelines Try to Render "Embedded Software" Patentable Without Specifying this Legal Term

In April 2010, the parliament of New Zealand voted for a major Patents Reform Bill to tighten the standards of patentability of software-implemented inventions (see related posting). The bill, as drafted by the Select Commerce Committee in July 2010, accepted that "protecting software by patenting is inconsistent with the open source model" and that "computer software should be excluded from patent protection as software patents can stifle innovation and competition" - intensely accompanied by various lobbying organisations. Clause 15 (3A) of the Patents Bill now reads:
A computer program is not a patentable invention.
The Select Commerce Committee, however, considered an exception for "embedded" software but found it too difficult to define it in the bill, whereas the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) decided that machine-controlling software should be treated as a special class that may be patentable. It was then confirmed by Minster Simon Power that, while "further amendment to the bill is neither necessary nor desirable", the NZ Intellectual Property Office (IPONZ) was instructed to develop guidelines to allow inventions that contain embedded software to be patented, since it was accepted by the Committee and the Minister that companies investing in inventions involving "embedded" computer programs should be able to obtain patent protection for these inventions (see related posting). Apparrently, like other jurisdictions before, also New Zealand's legislation failed to clearly specify the distinction between patentable and unpatentable software in a bill ("to difficult to define"). Now, on 20 December 2010, the instructed executive authority (IPONZ) has issued draft guidelines that should ensure that (only) microprocessor-based products controlled by 'embedded software' are not excluded from patentability. Comments on the proposed guidelines can be sent to until 11 March 2011 ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

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