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*Brussels, 21 December 2004* - A-items on the Tue 21 Dec afternoon 15:00 on the a-item list published 08:30, this is unusual

*Brussels, 20 December 2004* - Appears as A-item on Tue 21 Dec agenda, morning 10:15, in the Agriculture and Fisheries Council

*Brussels, 17 December 2004* - The agenda for the Environment Council meeting of Monday is already up to its third revision at the time of this writing. Earlier today, it mentioned that the software patents directive would be handled at that meeting. In the afternoon, the software patents directive was removed again from the schedule. The Dutch government apparently didn't want to be accused of misinforming its Parliament again.

Wednesday, Dutch State Secretary Van Gennip was questioned by the Dutch parliamentary commission of economic affairs about the preliminary unilateral statement of the Netherlands. At the end of the meeting, she conceded to have the statement reviewed by the Parliament before it is officially presented at the Council.

Yesterday, she sent a letter to the Parliament in which she noted the directive would be treated on Tuesday 21 December. As such, the Parliament would have time till Monday to decide about whether or not stating that "the rules on and the implementation practice of the patentability for computer-implemented inventions are sufficiently clear" is compatible with its motion that noted the Council text offers "insufficient guarantees to prevent excesses with regard to software patentability".

Today's appearance of the item on the Environment Council's agenda from Monday raised a few eyebrows in the Dutch Parliament, along with a hasty message from the Dutch government stating that it was just a mistake (possibly another error in the word processor). Now, the item has been removed again from the Environment agenda.

It has not yet appeared on the Agriculture and Fisheries agenda of Tuesday either, however. Nevertheless, it seems unlikely the Dutch Presidency will let its beleaguered directive text just slip away after all the trouble it went through until now.

Jonas Maebe, board member of FFII, comments:

"A" Item Note for this common position:

The Unilateral statements are found in the ADD 1 document of the "A" item note:

Unilateral statements (or unilateral declarations) in text form:

Newer page on the Council

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