Europe gears up to crucial software patent vote

The European parliament is set to vote on a crucial software patents directive tomorrow, Wednesday 6 July.

The European parliament is set to vote on a crucial software patents directive tomorrow, Wednesday 6 July. 

The directive is designed to harmonise the patent regime across all 25 EU member states, but the directive on “computer-implemented inventions” has already created a a series of rows between European ministers and members of parliament (MEPs).

A large number of MEPs are concerned that the current wording in the proposed directive tabled by ministers would lead Europe into a US-style patenting system, where companies could patent almost anything. They argue that this could stifle innovation by smaller software companies.

MEPs have tabled more than 20 amendments to be debated tomorrow.

Many of these MEPs support the promotion and use of open-source software. Major IT companies such as Microsoft, SAP, Siemens and Nokia are lobbying against the ammendments. 

The amendments have the support of around 200 MEPs so far, although the amendments need the support of around 370 MEPs if they are to be adopted.

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