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Press Release: MEPs call for new start on software patents

PRESS RELEASE - Brussels, 2 February 2005
Legal affairs committee puts Council out of its misery:
Parliament calls for new start on software patents
The European Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee decided this evening by an overwhelming majority to call for a new start to negotiations on the controversial software patents directive. Such a surprisingly decisive vote could not have been expected even a week ago.
The decision was taken after a discussion with Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy and a heated debate over the future of the directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions. Since this directive no longer had the support of a clear majority in Council and with the last Council meetings ending in dead-lock, MEPs took the situation into their own hands and demanded - in line with rules of procedure - a restart of negotiations on the entire directive. 
Monica Frassoni, Co-President of the Green/EFA Group said after the vote:
"This decision provides the only reasonable way out of the present deadlock and will put the Council out of its misery. Commissioner McCreevy was incredibly vague in his statements during the hearing, despite being asked repeatedly by MEPs what the Commission's intentions were. In the debate, broad agreement prevailed over the fact that the current proposal on the Council's table was counter-productive and far from a good basis for a decision. It became clear to everybody that a way out was needed."
Eva Lichtenberger, Austrian Member of the Legal Affairs Committee, said:

"The Legal Affairs Committee's initiative is a good beginning, but does not yet offer a happy ending to the software patents story. Today's courageous decision introduces the possibility of a better solution. I am very happy that we now have an opportunity to prevent software patenting and to obtain a better directive that will benefit the whole of the industry. We may now be able to stop market giants - aided by an American-style patenting law - from forcing innovators and SMEs out of the market."



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