European Court of Justice Rejects Spain’s and Italy’s Actions against the Unitary Patent System

The council of the European Union has allowed in total 25 European member states to create a Unitary Patent System based on the so-called enhanced cooperation which is possible under the TFEU. The attempt of Italy and Spain to challenge this decision has now been rejected by the European Court of Justice in a decision of April 16, 2013 Cases C-274/11 and C-295/11. The European Court of Justice had to answer several rather basic questions such as whether EU member states are competent at all for an enhanced cooperation in the field of patents or whether the European Union has exclusive competence and whether the enhanced cooperation which must be adopted as a last resort is permissible in the present case. In summary, the united patent system has taken an important hurdle.