Parliament delays vote on software patents

In the wake of protests by computer scientists and economists, the European Parliament on 1 September decided to delay voting on the controversial directive on the patentability of computer software.

The vote is now scheduled for the next plenary session between 22 and 26 September. The Directive on the Patentability of Computer-Implemented Inventions, drafted by MEP Arlene McCarthy (PES), has elicited opposition from the Greens and the European Socialists, among others (see alsoEURACTIV 29 August 2003). Opponents argue that the new directive would institute a US-style patent regime, under which large companies can acquire unlimited software patents which can protect them from upstart competition. They say that the directive would have "serious detrimental effects on European innovation, growth and competitiveness". The Commission's original aim with the directive was to clarify EU-wide patenting rules as Member States currently have diverse criteria for accepting the validity of software-related patents.

 

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