CJEU rejects Spain’s UPC challenge

The CJEU’s decision to reject Spain's challenges to the UPC removes one of the last key stumbling blocks to the establishment of the EU's UPC and Unitary Patent, which are already long overdue.

Spain argued that the new patent system would operate to the detriment of people whose mother tongue was not English, French or German. It also alleged that the administration of the Unitary Patent by the European Patent Office (EPO) would breach EU law since EPO decisions are not subject to judicial review. These claims have been dismissed.

Spain has not yet signed up to the Unitary Patent or the UPC. It may wish to reconsider this decision now that its second challenge to the unified system has failed The CJEU's judgment means that the new system will go ahead - with or without Spain - providing that the UPC agreement is ratified by a further 7 EU Member States (including the UK and Germany).  

The Unitary Patent will take effect across most EU Member States as a single territory whilst proceedings before the UPC will result in one decision across 25 participating Member States (removing the need for expensive, parallel litigation in separate EU countries). The idea is to cut the cost of patent protection in Europe whilst making it easier and less costly to enforce patents. Very few people doubt that this is a good idea in theory and so the CJEU's decision should be welcomed. However, what we need now is some evidence that the new system will live up to the promises made by its creators starting with a clear statement of the true costs of obtaining Unitary Patent protection and litigating in the UPC.

 

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