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EU Parliament bins software patent bill

By 648 votes to 14

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The European Parliament has voted by a massive majority to reject the software patents directive, formally known as the Directive on the Patentability of Computer Implemented Inventions. The vote to scrap the bill was passed by a margin of 648 votes to 14, with 18 abstentions.

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) says the rejection is a logical response to the Commission and Council's refusal to take parliament's will into consideration.

Anti-software patent campaigner Florian Muller argues that today's vote was prompted by events back in February, when the parliament's committee of legal affairs, JURI, voted for a restart of the legislative process. That vote was flatly ignored by the European Commission, which decided instead to move on to a second reading.

"A nightmare is over," Muller says. "Next time around, let's honestly discuss the pros and cons of pure software patents, and then we can get a great directive that won't die a dishonourable death like this."

According to Muller, MEPs are divided about what should happen next. The Conservative group has called for a new proposal from the Commission, while the Greens would like the parliamentary vote to be interpreted as a final rejection of the bill.

"Before any next step, we need a period of reflection, and a proper economic policy debate. It is not like we've accomplished everything here. Ideally, we want a good directive, but at this stage no directive was the best directive we could hope for," he told us.®

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