[JURIST] The prospects for an EU software patent directive [PDF proposal text] that would create a uniform software patenting system across Europe appeared limited Tuesday as European legislators expressed reservations about the measure. Many legislators and software companies fear that the law [EU FAQ] would limit innovation and restrict the work of small businesses. Currently, patent disputes are resolved in the individual countries; the new measure would allow the EU to determine the criteria for what kind of software may or may not be patented. The controversial legislation has been in development for five years and was originally scheduled to be voted on in November 2004 [JURIST report]. Large companies, supported by the European Information & Communications Technology Industry Association (EICTA), have said they support the measure [PDF press release] and believe the bill will simplify obtaining patents [EICTA press release]. The legislation is up for a vote in the European Parliament on Wednesday. AP has more.