The Open Source Industry Australia (OSIA) has lodged a submission with the Australian Advisory Council on Intellectual Property (ACIP) urging the abolition of Innovation Patents and the exclusion of computer software from patentability altogether.
The submission is a response to ACIP’s current review of the Innovation Patent System, and states OSIA’s “preference is for Option B” – to abolish the system – but claims this “would still leave outstanding issues in relation to standard patents on computer software.”
OSIA also outlines it rejects Option A which it labels the “ubiquitous ‘do nothing’ option,” and believes Option C (to “change the innovation patent system”) will only provide substantial improvement over the status quo if it, at a minimum, included the proposed reforms described in the ‘Exclusions’ Section 5.6.8 segment of the ACIP paper.
According to OSIA chairman, Jack Burton, there is a strong grassroots movement pushing to disallow software patents.
“When the news broke late August that the New Zealand government had just legislated to abolish software patents we were inundated with statements of support from our community… and with queries how we might foster similar progressive steps here in Australia,” Burton said.
In a statement, OSIA said software patents are a global concern and that there is an emerging consensus that these patents are a massive tax on and retardant of innovation.
In addition to NZ’ recent ban on software patents, the European Union has been debating similar moves for more than a decade. Brazil, Russia, India and China are also beginning to feel the boom.
“The OSIA board understands that patents were intended to promote innovation, but the reality is that software patents are doing just the opposite. The current intellectual patent regime is inefficient and it frustrates innovation more than it fosters it,” Burton said.
“The general rule of thumb in the software industry is that when you are young you innovate, and when you are old you litigate (with patents).”