Patent directive 'back on EU agenda'

Update: Opponents of software patenting fear that the EuropeanComputer Implemented Inventions Directive is about to be adopted, butthe EC is denying the claim

The Computer Implemented Inventions Directive (CIID) may be ratified next Monday, a move that would give anti-patent campaigners little time to take action.

A minister from Luxembourg and a representative from the European Commission's Industrial Property Unit have said that the CIID -- which opponents say will allow the widespread patenting of software in Europe -- will be adopted at an EU Council Agriculture and Fishery meeting on Monday 24 January, according to a report by the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII).

However, a spokeswoman for the EU Council denied on Friday afternoon that the CCID is on Monday's agenda.

The directive was initially due to be adopted on 21 December, but was removed from the agenda after the Polish undersecretary of science and information said that more time was needed to make a constructive declaration.

According to sources familiar with the situation, EU rules mean that the Directive must appear on the first Council meeting following the Christmas break.

The FFII is now rallying its supporters to campaign against the directive, but is concerned that it has little time.

"The FFII is trying to mobilise its supporters to contact politicians and media to prevent the Council decision and/or get the Parliament's Restart project on track," said the FFII on its Web site. "By its surprise tactic of inserting an A-item in the last minute, the Council/Commission of course makes this difficult."

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