Following the rejection by the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) of Spain’s legal challenges to the to the regulations setting up the European unitary patent and translation regime (as previously discussed here),

the Italian Ministry of Economic Development (the “Ministry”) has released a statement confirming that it now supports the unitary patent.

The statement, published on the Ministry’s website, begins by declaring that the unified patent is a priority for the Ministry.

Italy had previously challenged, along with Spain, the decision of the Council of the European Union authorising use of the enhanced co-operation regime, a challenge which was rejected by the CJEU in 2013. Although it then did not participate in the unitary patent regulation, Italy did not join Spain in its further legal challenges against it and joined the Unified Patent Court Agreement (though has not yet ratified it). It appeared from this that Italy was willing to allow the geographical jurisdiction of the Unified Patent Court to extend to Italy as regards classic European (bundle) patents designating Italy, but was unwilling to participate in the unitary patent.

With this announcement, that position has now changed. Patentees can look forward to Italy being covered if they opt for unitary effect (which will avoid in particular the need for a translation of the full specification into Italian).

Thirteen member states (including Germany, France and the United Kingdom) are required to ratify the Agreement before it can come into force.