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Green Light from AG Bot for Unitary Patent in Europe

November 2014

The Opinion of Advocate General Bot, regarding Spain’s actions (CJEU cases C-146/13 and C-147/13) that the Regulations surrounding the creating of the European Unitary Patent should be annulled, has been given today. It is the Opinion of AG Bot that the CJEU should dismiss Spain’s actions.

Spain pleaded that the proposed language scheme would be discriminatory to persons whose mother tongue was not German, French or English. Furthermore, that aspects of EU law had been breached in the arranging of the Regulation on the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court.

Today’s press release states that unitary protection “brings real benefit” over the current European Patent Convention, where the effects of European patents are determined by national laws. Furthermore, even though the language arrangements that have been selected under the regime may curtail the use of some European languages, they “pursue a legitimate objective of reducing translation costs”. To limit the number of languages for the European Unitary Patent will reduce costs, and furthermore, acknowledges the linguistic realities of the patent sector (German, French and English are the most popular spoken languages from which patent application in the EU originate, as well as the languages of most published scientific papers).

In both cases brought by Spain, AG Bot proposed that CJEU should dismiss Spain’s actions.

The opinion of the Advocate General is not binding on the CJEU, and judgements will be given at a later stage. However, it is unusual for the Court not to follow the Opinion of the AG. The Opinion signifies a green light for unitary patent protection in Europe.

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