No-one can argue that the patent system in the US is out of control. What started as a brilliant way of protecting intellectual property has now become a way of stifling innovation and a way for big businesses with very deep pockets to put an end to new competition by involving them in expensive and lengthy legal battles that drag on through the courts for years.
This is completely unethical and misses the original point of the patent system, which was originally designed to encourage and reward innovative behaviour. Despite this it seems the patent system is here to stay because it favours the big companies that power the world economies.
However, New Zealand is one of the first major countries to defy the international trends and leave software out of their new patent legislation. This is particularly important because a lot of the so-called “patent trolling” is in relation to software development and applications.
It’s a brave move and it will be interesting to see how it plays out over the long-term.