Late last week, it appeared that Denmark and Poland might force the Council to reopen debate on the directive. In the end, Danish Minister of Economic Affairs Bendt Bendtsen decided not to stand in the way of the endorsement and instead attached a written declaration of Denmarks opposition. Several other countries, including Hungary, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland and Cyprus, have added similar declarations. It is highly unusual for a Common Position to be renegotiated after it has been agreed upona step that happened back in May 2004and Council delegates said they were unwilling to set a disruptive precedent by reopening the debate.To read David Courseys analysis of the pros and cons of software patents, click here. The text will now go to a second reading in the European Parliament, where MEPs will have a strict three-month limit to make changes or reject it, and decisions require a more substantial majority than in a first reading. These conditions would originally have presented a nearly impossible barrier for making any changes, but there is now much greater political will among MEPs, Mueller said. "This has been so bitterly contested over the past few months that on the day they vote on this, the turnout is going to be really high," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.
While efforts to stop the directive in its tracks have failed procedurally, protesters have gained ground politically, Mueller said. "The reputation with which [the text] goes to the Parliament now is a much different one than if we had never tried to prevent this decision," he said.