The European Court of Justice (CJEU) has dismissed an action filed by Spain and Italy alleging that the process used to form the unitary patent agreement infringed European law.

This decision brings the unitary patent slightly closer to realisation.

The agreement establishing the unitary patent was approved by the European Parliament in December 2012. The key feature of the unitary patent is that once granted, it will be automatically in force in all 25 participating states - currently all European Union states except Spain and Italy.

The unitary patent will be available from 1 January 2014, provided 13 contracting states have ratified the agreement. However, there are further actions lodged by Spain challenging the creation of the unitary patent to be heard by the Court of Justice of the European Union.