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Select Committee Scrutiny Called For On Patents Changes - InternetNZ

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Select Committee Scrutiny Called For On Patents Changes - InternetNZ

InternetNZ (Internet New Zealand Inc) has today called for the Government to allow any proposed changes to the Patents Bill to be referred back to the Commerce Select Committee for further scrutiny.

The issue of software patents has recently attracted a great deal of attention and controversy, particularly in respect of the patentability of "embedded software".

In a letter to Commerce Minister Simon Power this afternoon, InternetNZ points out that any changes to the legislation made through supplementary order paper during the Parliamentary debate on the Bill could have significant consequences.

"Those consequences should be carefully thought through. Any SOP proposed by the government should be scrutinised thoroughly, but quickly, by the Select Committee," says InternetNZ Policy Director Jordan Carter.

"Those who originally made submissions should also be provided the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes," he adds.

"SOPs can allow for useful improvements to the meaning of legislation, but they can also go horribly wrong. The debacle of the section 92A amendments to the Copyright Act in 2008, also involving last minute changes through SOP, show the importance of careful and public scrutiny of any last minute changes.

"A short delay of a couple of weeks would give the Committee time to assess any changes the Government may propose, and to work out in the bright sunlight of transparent scrutiny whether they meet New Zealand's needs.

"InternetNZ urges the Minister to take this approach, and allow for recommital if an SOP is introduced," concludes Carter.

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