ACS slammed over patent response

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Matt Tutaki - the individual at the centre of opposition to a controversial e-commerce patent - has slammed the Australian Computer Society (ACS) for ‘playing politics’ and failing to assist his campaign.

Matt Tutaki - the individual at the centre of opposition to a controversial e-commerce patent - has slammed the Australian Computer Society (ACS) for 'playing politics' and failing to assist his campaign.

Since July, Tutaki has been battling to have the granting of the patent to Canadian company DE Technologies overturned.

IP Australia - the government agency responsible for patents - earlier this month sealed the patent for DE's e-commerce software design, which could potentially force Australian companies to pay royalty fees for international e-commerce transactions.

However, plans to try and stop the patent is still in the works, as the issue is set to go before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Tutaki claimed an ACS press release it issued last Friday after the patent had been sealed and titled 'ACS repeats calls for public comment on patent applications' was 'nothing more than a complete and utter farce'.

Tutaki claimed he had repeatedly tried to contact ACS representatives for almost three months to no avail. He said he had received 7,500 emails from people concerned about the patent issue.

He was also angered to learn that the ACS had made a recommendation last year on the issue when it appeared before the government's Advisory Committee on Intellectual Property. 'If the original ACS recommendation had been adopted, then much of the evidence which is likely to be put to the Appeals Tribunal could have been considered by the Patents Office before the decision to grant the patent was made,' the ACS statement said.

Tutaki claimed that, if he had been made aware of the ACS recommendations and report, the case against the patent would have 'been stronger'.

He praised Senator John Tierney and the Federal government for assisting businesses overcome the patent, but questioned the future viability of the ACS. 'To be quite frank, I think it is high time we question the viability of the Australian Computer Society and its ability to act as a representative body of IT business people,' he claimed.

He questioned the ACS' motivation. 'They had it [a report] all the time and they never picked up the phone and called me,' he said. 'Are they supporting business and their members [or] are they supporting themselves,' he asked, adding that the ACS was 'out of touch' with government and opposition policy. He asked that the ACS 'move with the times' and get behind the Australian IT industry.

Philip Argy, ACS vice president and a senior partner at the intellectual property & technology group at law firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques could not be reached at press time. Argy also chairs the ACS' Economic, Legal and Social Implications Committee.

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