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Munich asks ministers to drop EU patent vote

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The vote on the European Directive on software patents has, at the last minute, been moved to the afternoon session on the Agricultural and Fisheries Commission's meeting. The vote is now scheduled for around 3pm, Brussels time.

The change in schedule follows a statement (pdf, in German) from the Mayor of Munich, calling on Germany's minister to have the directive taken off the agenda altogether. Mayor Christian Ude said he can see no reason for the Council to proceed with such haste.

"After the multitude of concerns raised by all sides of politics, of small and medium enterprises and of many developers of free software, a further discussion about the directive proposal and not a nodding-off in the non-expert Council of Agriculture and Fisheries had been expected. I have today approached minister Künast to inform her of these expectations," he said.

Florian Mueller of campaign group NoSoftwarePatents said: "It shows that the city of Munich would really prefer a software patent-free environment for its Linux migration project. Frankly, it would be an unprecedented event if anyone stood up today and asked for software patents to taken off the agenda, but it's possible that the Dutch government [is simply taking] its chances even though various countries are unhappy."

According to Mueller, the rescheduling is probably for administrative reasons, but it is possible that the directive is so politically unstable, that more time was given to allow for more behind-the-scenes discussion of the vote.

The directive is now on the afternoon agenda for the council. It will be preceded by a vote on the adoption of a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down requirements for feed hygiene. ®

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