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Euro ministers set to OK patent measure

Little chance for amendments

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European ministers are expected to give the OK for the controversial Computer Implemented Inventions Directive to proceed when they meet Monday.

The European Commission has already nixed efforts to send the directive, which would allow software to be patented, back to the European Parliament, effectively restarting the legislative process. This could have enabled the bill to be reworked or even junked altogether.

On Friday, Reuters reported that EU officials had said the directive was expected to be approved at the ministers’ meeting on Monday. The measure is apparently an “A-point” on the agenda for the meeting, meaning it can be approved without any debate. This would send it back to the Parliament for a second reading, where the opportunity for amendments is much lower.

The directive is pitched as offering greater protection for software developers. Opponents, including many in the European parliament, fear it will simply provide big players, including America’s powerful and litigious software giants, with a very large stick to batter upstart developers and the Open Source movement.®

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