Hopes of fresh start on E.U. software patent law set back

Opponents of controversial legislation which would allow software to be patented across the European Union (E.U.) have received a double blow this week.

On Monday the European Commission, the E.U.’s executive body, declined to restart the decision-making process on the legislation. It refused to resubmit a proposal for a directive on computer-implemented inventions, which, opponents claim, would allow patents on software.

The Council of Ministers, which represents national governments, also announced it was planning to push ahead with a fiercely contested version of the directive by formally adopting an agreement reached in May last year.

Campaigners against the directive have played a major part in efforts to restart the decision-making process from scratch to give members of the European Parliament (MEPs) a chance to try and prevent patent protection being extended to software.

Florian M