Software patents as such: Software patentability in New Zealand under the Patents Bill
This paper examines the patentability of software under the Patents Bill. It attempts to determine how a New Zealand court will interpret the provisions of the Patents Bill that relate to the exclusion of software, and to what extent the “as such” exclusion will apply. It does this by looking at principles of statutory interpretation and the relevant English and European case law on the matter. It concludes that a New Zealand court will interpret the provision in accordance with UK precedent to give it a narrower interpretation than that given in Europe. The paper then examines the consistency of the provisions with the relevant international law before discussing some problems that may arise regarding market incentives and distributed systems. It proposes that the provision strikes an appropriate balance between protection and innovation in line with Parliament’s intent.