Tuesday, November 02, 2004

WHO NEED PRESIDENTIAL RECOUNTS WHEN YOU HAVE EU SOFTWARE PATENT RECOUNTS? A campaigner against software patents is calling for a recount on the EU Council's vote to allow software patents, claiming that changes in EU voting rights mean the result is no longer binding.

A change in the voting weights of EU members means that the EU Council members which supported controversial changes to the EU Software Patents directive no longer have a majority vote, prompting some campaigners to call for a recount.

The EU council voted on 18 May in favour of changes to the EU Software Patents Directive that would allow the widespread patenting of software in Europe. This political agreement is not legally binding until the proposal is formally adopted, which the EU council is expected to do in a meeting at the end of November.

But, due to new voting weights for EU member states that came in on Monday -- in Article 12(1) of the Accession Act -- the countries which supported the change now fall short of a qualified majority by 16 votes, according to an analysis published by Florian Mueller, the founder of an anti-patent Web site.

Mueller is now lobbying representatives from various countries to request that the EU Council proposal is withdrawn as there needs to be further discussion or vote.

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