The European Commission (EC) has rejected requests to rewrite the Computer Implemented Inventions Directive (CIID), sparking a furious response from campaigners who accused the EC of acting undemocratically.
An EC spokesman confirmed on Monday that the Commission had declined requests from the European Parliament to go back to basics on the CIID, which opponents claim will allow the widespread patenting of software in Europe.
"We expect the European Council to formalise the common position. The Commission stands ready to review all aspects of the directive," said the EC spokesman, adding that this meant that changes could yet be made to the directive when it reaches the European Parliament.
Florian Mueller, who runs an anti-patent Web site, condemned the EC's decision, accusing those responsible of "negating democracy".
"Now we call on the EU Council to demonstrate a more democratic attitude and to reopen negotiations of its Common Position at the forthcoming meeting of the Competitiveness Council on Monday 7 March," said Mueller.
The CIID has sparked many months of argument, debate and confusion within Europe. It has yet to be formally adopted by the European Council, but if this does happen the directive will return to the Parliament. The EC spokesman said he understood that the Council is planning to put the CIID on the agenda of the 7 March meeting.
Earlier this month the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) of the European Parliament demanded that the proposed software patent directive should be started from scratch.
This request was later ratified by senior members of the parliament.