Dozens of demonstrators protesting a proposed law creating a single way of patenting computerized inventions across the EU gathered outside the European Parliament for the second day running ahead of a key vote in the assembly.
EU lawmakers were expected to reject the so-called software patent directive in a vote later yesterday.
The law would give companies EU-wide patent protection for computerized inventions ranging from programs for complex CAT scanners to ABS car-brake systems. Currently, patent disputes are handled by individual member states.
The proposed patent protection would also extend to computer programs, but only when the software is used in the context of realizing inventions.
Some 178 amendments to the bill were tabled by lawmakers before the vote, and all major groups in the parliament are likely to vote against the law fearing the amendments would dilute the bill and make it an inadequate compromise.
Big companies such as Nokia Corp and Siemens AG have fought hard for adoption of the bill, saying they need to invest in research and development.