Italy Announces Support for UPC
May 14, 2015

After the recent rejection by the European Court of Justice of Spain’s legal challenge to the unitary patent system, Italian government officials confirmed Italy’s support for a unitary patent system. On Wednesday, May 13, during a formal meeting of the National Committee for European Affairs, Simona Vicari, Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Development, announced that “the unitary patent is a priority” for Italy. Ms.Vicari noticed how “after the May 5th CJEU's decision that rejected Spain's claims, we have confirmation that that the Unitary Patent Package's legal framework is not under discussion”. The Italian government representative further commented that “Italy's being part of the Unitary Patent Package is in line with the interests of a country that aims to innovation and internationalization of its business and that wants to guarantee a more timely and uniform protection on a European level to anyone who invests in research, development, innovation, and ultimately to those who file for patents. Moreover, the new system will reinforce our international fight against counterfeiting and will eventually attract foreign investments”. These comments are published (in Italian) on the official website of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development.

These comments from a high-ranking member of the Government of Italy, while not a ratification yet, unequivocally show a strong signal of Italy’s position on the European unitary patent system.

CJEU Rejects Spanish Challenge
May 6, 2015

On May 5, 2015 the Court of Justice of the European Union issued its judgment, rejecting the "Spanish Challenge" to the Unitary Patent System (part of the Unified Patent Package), which includes the Unitary Patent RegulationRegulation on Translations, and Unified Patent Court Agreement) signed in December 2012. As reported previously, the Spanish Challenge has been brewing since 2012, shortly after the Unified Patent Package was signed. The Spanish Challenge essentially argued that the new system was a breach of European Union law, and illegal, because it gave unnecessary authority to the European Patent Office as well as a subset of the EU member states and did it not integrate the Spanish language as an official language of the system.

The historic ruling makes a strong statement about the importance of the Unified Patent Package. The ruling states that the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court address “the complexity and particularly high costs of the current European patent protection system” which “affect adversely the capacity of European businesses to innovate and compete.”

This ruling ends the debate, which began nearly 50 years ago in regard to unifying the patent system in Europe. With the final hurdle complete, the Unified Patent Court is anticipated to open in 2016. All companies that have competitors in Europe, particularly where patents are relevant to their industry, will now need to take seriously this new court and patent system.