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Software Patents Out, For Now

Patent legislation is one step further away from being passed in the European Union today. The Legal "Affairs Committee (JURI) said that the commission should re-submit the controversial directive. The Computer Implemented Inventions Directive" failed to receive backing from the government's elected MEP's.

The FFII, a EU pressure group, described the decision as "a powerful statement from MEPs that the current Council text, and the logjam of concern it has caused, is simply not a sustainable way forward." FFII board member Jonas Maebe went on to say "The Commissioner can jumpstart the constructive dialogue by submitting a new and more balanced proposal to the European Parliament this time. By taking into account the countless new facts that have surfaced since the start of this procedure in 2002, the Commission has a great opportunity to reinvigorate the Lisbon strategy."

Poland had previously blocked the directive from coming in to being. It's opposed by groups who want to keep the EU free of copyrights on software, something common to the USA. They argue that rather than helping businesses protect their intellectual property, they act to stifle innovation. Supporters of the directive argue that EU legislation on copyrights is out dated and needs bringing into line with the US system.

The road ahead is un-clear; the commission has a variety of options that it can pursue. The most likely outcome with be a re-evaluation in a few months time. Critics of the directive say the extra time will allow countries more debate over the issue and give them another chance to fully assess its implications.

View: Previous coverage | FFII

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