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The vote follows months of debate on the impact of proposed laws on the cost and availability of commercial and open source software. Critics of the proposed legislation said it could threaten small software suppliers and leave in-house IT departments vulnerable to claims that their development work infringes patents.
Larger IT companies had called for higher levels of patent enforcement through the European Commission to protect their intellectual property.
The European Commission is now considering whether to drop the proposed directive, and leave member countries to control intellectual property claims through national patent offices.