A computer program is not a patentable invention.

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Here is some text directly from the New Zealand bill that will make patenting software illegal in that country.

We received many submissions concerning the patentability of computer programs. … Open source, or free, software has grown in popularity since the 1980s. Protecting software by patenting is inconsistent with the open source model, and its proponents oppose it. A number of submitters argued that there is no “inventive step” in software development, as “new” software invariably builds on existing software. They felt that computer software should be excluded from patent protection as software patents can stifle innovation and competition, and can be granted for trivial or existing techniques. In general we accept this position. …

[With regard to corporations fighting for proprietary software,] After careful consideration we concluded that developing a clear and definitive distinction between embedded and other types of software is not a simple matter; and that, for the sake of clarity, a simple approach would be best. We received advice that our recommendation to include computer programs among the inventions that may not be patented would be unlikely to prevent the granting of patents for inventions involving embedded software.

This is a huge win for the open source and free software communities, but big business is cringing. They know that movements can start propagating from this small country to bigger ones.

The open ability to develop new applications and try them out has been vital to the Internet’s growth and to the space in which we currently operate. … Shoot the patent lawyers.”

Vint Cerf

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