Parliament ditches software patents

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By a vast majority, parliament rejected the proposal on the patentability of software and other computer-related inventions on 6 July 2005. The Commission will not come forward with another proposal on the much-disputed issue.

Six hundred and forty eight out of 680 MEPs present voted in favour of a multi-party proposal to reject the Commission’s draft proposal. Shortly before the vote, key MEPs of the Parliament’s PPE/ED (Conservative) and ALDE (Liberal)  groups, which were split until then had announced that their groups would reject the directive. 

In the Commission’s press briefing after the vote, DG Internal Market spokesman Oliver Drewes said Commissioner Charlie McCreevy would not come forward with another proposal on computer patents. 

The Business Software Alliance, an industry group representing many large software companies, said it respected the Parliament’s decision: “Although we would have welcomed a harmonisation of laws throughout Europe, at least the intellectual property protection that innovators had yesterday will remain the same tomorrow – and that is critical for European competitiveness,” said BSA Director Francisco Mingorance. 

EURACTIV will follow up with more coverage, including stakeholders’ positions, on 7 July 2005. 

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