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27 November 2014
The Advocate General (AG) of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), Yves Bot, has issued a stern rebuke to Spain’s legal challenges to the European Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court, and calls for their dismissal by the Court, thus providing a good indication that the final obstacles in the way of the Unitary Patent system will soon be cleared. The full text of the AG’s press release is available here.
In March 2013, Spain began proceedings before the CJEU seeking the annulment of two of the regulations fundamental to the implementation of the Unitary Patent system, the first relating to creation of the system in itself (Regulation No 1257/2012), and the second to the regulation governing language requirements (Regulation No. 1260/2012). The proceedings have been seen as a blocking tactic being used to de-rail the implementation of the Unitary Patent.
The Advocate General, in his statement, provides observations regarding the benefits which will be provided to member states once the enhanced cooperation of the unitary patent system is in place. He states that in his view, the objective of the regulation on the creation of Unitary patent protection and Unified Court is to ensure the proper functioning of the legal framework within the European market, and to provide legal certainty to its users beyond that available under the current European framework.
As regards language provisions, the Advocate General explains that to limit the number of languages for the European patent with unitary effect is appropriate since it ensures protection throughout the Member States, while enabling a significant reduction in translation costs to be realised. The choice of languages under the system reflects the linguistic realities of the patent sector, with respect to the language in which the majority of scientific papers are written, and also the language in which patents are filed under the present system. Although some disadvantages to some member states may present themselves, the guarantees provided by the Unitary Patent will outweigh any “discriminatory” effects.
The statement issued by the Advocate General is not binding on the Court, which has now begun deliberation in the case and is expected to hand down its decision in the next few months. However, the opinions of the Advocates General have historically been a strong indicator of the likely outcome, and therefore this augurs well for the implementation of the Unitary Patent system.
This publication is a general summary of the law. It should not replace legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances.
© Withers & Rogers LLP, November 2014