BRUSSELS, July 6 (UPI) -- The European Parliament overwhelmingly rejected a draft law aimed at harmonizing the patenting of software inventions across Europe.
After years of heavy lobbying, European legislators turned down the text in a 648-14 vote.
Eva Lichtenberger, a Green Party deputy from Austria, said, "Many members of the European Parliament became aware in the run up to today's vote that small and medium enterprises, which are the backbone of Europe's economy, need freedom -- not a corset of patents -- for creativity and development."
The European Commission had proposed to replace the 25 national laws with a single European patent rule that supporters said would have led to better protection for large software producers. But EU lawmakers said the rule was too restrictive, stifled innovation and shutout small software firms.
Commission spokesman Oliver Drewes said the vote "means fragmentation. It means 25 different systems competing ... and less clarity for operators and for member states."