Dutch try to head off last ditch attempt to ratify software directive

The controversial EU directive on software may still slip through according to sources in Brussels even though an influential EU Committee has said it should go back to the drawing board.

Recently, the EU Committee on Legal Affairs Commission (JURI), recommended that the directive on computer-implemented inventions be restarted. But, the Council of Ministers may still get its draft ratified, if it turns up on the agenda of meetings scheduled before the European Commission decides whether or not to approve the decision of JURI.

Sources at Brussels say that even up to the last minute on the 17th of February, the draft may turn up at a Council meeting on Economy and Financial Affairs. If it does so, it will appear as an `A` item.

Classed as an A-item, the Council’s draft could be approved without any further debate or amendments suggested by the European Parliament, JURI or anyone else.

The plot thickens. The Dutch Parliament at the EU has asked its government to request the draft be demoted. If it changed to a B item, the provisions that opponents are unhappy with could still be altered.

Dutch MP Arda Gerkens said: ‘Given the new composition of the European Parliament, we can suppose a favourable outcome – i.e., rejection of the disputed software patents. Software patents are entirely unfair, they would tremendously favour the large enterprises at the expense of small software developers. This is a great victory for both small ICT companies and the democratic way of working in Europe. This is a great reason to celebrate!’

Jonas Maebe, board member of Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure, said: ‘The Dutch Parliament temporarily puts the Council sausage machine on hold, so that the other EU institutions get time to work things out properly. I just hope the Dutch government will actually execute this motion.’

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