Open source software advocates and libertarians are applauding a New Zealand law that says software programs cannot be patented unless combined with hardware. Expect furious opposition from US tech companies and patent trolls.
What do you do when you’re a small country with a technology industry convinced that innovation requires the banning of software patents, but you’ve signed an international treaty that in theory obliges you to make software patentable? If you’re New Zealand, you simply declare, in a historic and long-debated bit of just-passed legislation, that software isn’t an invention in the first place.
New Zealand debated for five years before passing the bill overwhelmingly 117-4.