Date: 16 April 2013
We reported at the end of 2012 that the European Parliament had approved the Council Regulations for enhanced co-operation in the area of unitary patent protection and that the only remaining hurdle was approval by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
We are pleased to now report that the Court has approved those regulations.
The Court has ruled that, in the light of it being impossible for the Member States to agree on a common system for the whole EU within a reasonable period, enhanced co-operation between 25 of the 27 Member States does indeed contribute to the process of European integration.
Spain and Italy had asked the Court of Justice to annul the Council's decision to embark on enhanced co-operation, on several grounds, each of which the CJEU dismissed:
The decision does not finally close off all challenges to the unitary patent. It brings to an end cases C-274/11 and C-295/11, but Spain has filed other actions against the Council's two Regulations, and these are pending under case Nos C-146/13 and C-147/13. The statements of grounds of these actions are not yet available.
Aside from Spain's remaining challenges, the next major step in the timetable in the timetable towards the Unitary Patent will be primary legislation in UK, France and Germany, which is expected in 2014.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013