European Union ministers have endorsed a controversial proposal on software patents which opponents say will stifle innovation, particularly among SME companies.
Despite protests from various countries, the proposed Computer-Implemented Inventions Directive will now be passed to the European Parliament for a second reading.
Supporters say that the Directive in its current form protects research and development investment in software innovation from European companies by legalising software patents.
However, opponents fear that the proposal could lead to a model being developed similar to that already found in the US, where small companies wishing to fight patent action in court often find themselves unable to take on software giants, as they lack the legal and financial might to defend themselves.
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