The current deadlock over the EU patent directive will end next week when Poland backs down from its previous stance and allows a Council of Ministers version of the legislation to go through.

At the end of last year, a dramatic last-minute intervention by the Polish deputy minister for science and IT, saw official adoption of the text delayed.

Wlodzimierz Marcinski asked for more time to register concerns about the new rules' impact on small and medium-sized businesses, and the directive - agreed in May - was delayed yet again. However, Poland has since indicated it will not oppose its official adoption at a meeting of EU farm ministers next Monday.

A Polish official confirmed that his country's minister would not repeat his request for a delay as it had finalised a declaration expressing its concern over the legislation. It may seem odd that an EU Council on Agriculture and Fishery would vote on a directive concerning software patents, and it is. It is also precisely the same tactic that the Council tried before Xmas and is unlikely to impress those who feel the whole situation is beginning to smack of behind-the-scenes dealing.

Once the text is finally adopted, it will then return to the European Parliament, which will be unhappy at the Council of Ministers' decision to pull out all of its amendments. To include changes a second time will require more MEPs to vote in favour and will set it on a crash course with the Council of Ministers. However, following two big pushes this month by MEPs to restart the entire legislation, it looks highly likely that that battle is going to happen.