Members of the European Parliament have voted against draft software patent legislation which critics claim would make it harder for smaller developers to compete.
Among the opponents of the draft legislation is the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), which has 700 company members.
It is concerned that the proposed patent legislation would make it difficult for them to develop new software because of more stringent pan-European patent protection.
The proposed legislation is known as the "computer implemented inventions directive".
Larger IT companies, such as Nokia and Alcatel, have called for higher levels of patent enforcement through the European Commission to protect their intellectual property, but the FFII has said it would prefer patent rules to remain with national patent offices.
The European Commission is now considering whether to rewrite or drop the proposed directive.