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EU software patent law delayed by a month

A proposal for a pan-European law on software patents has been delayed by deep disagreement among European parliamentarians.

The European Parliament was expected to formulate a position on the proposed EU law at a committee meeting this Wednesday, with a view to submitting the law for a vote at the European Parliament session in early June.

However, the legal affairs committee, which is leading the debate within the European Parliament, has rescheduled the committee vote for 10 June.

The software patent directive has sparked fierce debate in the software industry, with free software and open-source software supporters arguing that there should be no directive at all.

At the other extreme, large patent-holders such as IBM have been pushing lawmakers to make the software patent law as inclusive as possible.

Arlene McCarthy, chair of the legal affairs committee, said earlier this month she was not prepared to consider any proposals for amendments that do not acknowledge the patentability of software.

If the legal affairs committee agrees a resolution at its 10 June meeting, the European Parliament will debate the directive at the end of the month, officials said.


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