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EU considers changes to IT patent process

[JURIST] Sixty-one members of the European Parliament [official website] have presented a plan [draft text; PDF] to eliminate the European Union's current legislative process related to IT patents. The proposed changes reflect the debate over current European law that prohibits software patents, and the Directive on the Patentability of Computer-Implemented Inventions [Wikipedia entry; 2002 Commission draft text; EU FAQ]. The directive, which places significant limits on the patentability of software, was adopted in September 2003 and is supported by those opposing software patents on the grounds that changes to European patent law could allow companies to enforce those patents and obtain many more. Supporters of the proposed plan, led by former Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek, cite as their main concern the fact that "patent-related risks increasingly have implications for the decisions taken by public administrations and private sector organizations with regards to (IT) infrastructures." A vote could take place in the next Parliament plenary session scheduled for February 21. eWeek has more.

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