Last 16 April, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) rejected Spain and Italy’s attempts to frustrate the unitary patent deal. In particular, their challenge to the European Council’s 2011 decision that allowed the EU’s 25 remaining states to use a so-called enhanced cooperation procedure to negotiate the unitary patent deal without Spain and Italy was dismissed.
Before the 2011 decision, Spain and Italy had refused to participate in unitary patent negotiations, complaining in particular that unitary patent applications would not be translated into their languages.
Despite the CJEU’s ruling, there is still a remaining obstacle, which is a separate Spanish challenge to the legality of the unitary patent, which could delay the implementation of the new unitary patent system.
The UPC is expected to be ready between July 2014 and January 2015, but could be delayed by the CJEU ruling on Spain’s latest legal challenge.

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