European Parliament says software patent proposal must be rewritten. Whether European Commission will listen is another matter. Photos: Patent protesters take to the streets European patent protesters: 'Innovation--yes!'
As it now stands, the directive would legalize software patents. Supporters say the directive would protect research and development investments by European companies. Opponents say it would stifle innovation.
A parliament representative said the rewrite request was approved Thursday without debate by the Conference of Presidents--the president of the parliament and the chairs of political groups--and can now be passed to the European Commission, which will decide whether to agree to the request.
Initially, the Commission was expected to follow the parliament's request, but recent indications suggest that it may ignore the request, having expressed disappointment that the EU Council had postponed ratifying the directive.
"People are in an upbeat mood because of the Conference of Presidents' decision and because it was unanimous--now a strong political decision will be sent to the EC," Mueller said. "Everyone thinks it unlikely that the Commission will ignore the request for a restart outright."
The debate gets lively when it comes to the value of software patents.
He contends that software patents are needed to ensure that the EU can keep to the goals set by the "Lisbon Agenda"--that the EU will become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-driven economy by 2010.
"While the repercussions of today's action are not yet clear, the role of strong (intellectual property) as an engine of European growth as part of the Lisbon Agenda is beyond question," Lueders said. "Last May's political agreement in the (European) Council roundly delivers on the agenda's goals, he added.