EU votes no on change to software law

Groups representing IT directors, software companies and developers have welcomed last week’s vote in the European Parliament against the proposed European Software Directive.

Groups representing IT directors, software companies and developers have welcomed last week’s vote in the European Parliament against the proposed European Software Directive. 

The proposed directive aimed to harmonise patent regulation across the EU, but industry groups were concerned it could restrict software development and lead to licensing changes.

David Roberts, chairman of IT user organisation The Corporate IT Forum, welcomed the vote on software patents and said the decision could lead to changes in software licensing. “I would like to think it will force suppliers to rethink their policy on repeat fees,” he said.

The proposed directive had drawn criticism that it would have created a similar patenting system to that in the US, which many claim favours larger companies with hefty legal budgets, when arguing over the validity of relatively minor software patents.

John Higgins, director general of IT suppliers trade body Intellect, said, “This is a clear and positive decision by EU parliamentarians, which has avoided introducing damaging new legislation narrowing patentability, leaving in place the existing legal framework.”

The Professional Contractors Group also welcomed the vote. PCG chairman Simon Juden said, “Independent software developers have been granted a last-minute reprieve. Without this vote, the basic tools of their trade would now be owned and controlled by big companies.”

Read more on IT for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)

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