Court rejects bid to unpick EU patent
The European Court of Justice has rejected an action brought by Spain and Italy against the “enhanced co-operation procedure” initiated by other EU member states in 2011 to establish an EU-wide patent system ( Agrow No 620, p 8). The two countries refused to sign up in protest at translation rules for the three official languages (English, French or German). But the co-operation deal between the remaining countries had been instrumental in reaching a final EU patent agreement in 2012 after 30 years of debate ( Agrow No 655, p 7). Spain and Italy claimed that the procedure was invalid, but the Court ruled that it may be used as a last resort when it had been established that agreement could not be reached by the EU as a whole. The Court also disagreed with the claim that the EU patent would damage the internal market.