On 8th March 2011 the European Court of Justice concluded that the envisaged agreement creating a European and Community Patents Court was not compatible with the provisions of EU law. Consensus gentium ("agreement of the people")?
More or less simultaneously, on 10th March 2011 the EU Competitiveness Council confirmed the enhanced cooperation, while the European Parliament had already consented to the enhanced cooperation with a clear majority on 15th February. Consensus gentium!
Thus, the 30-year-old political stumbling block – the question of translation – has been conclusively resolved. While the enhanced cooperation to introduce the Community patent began with 12 of the 27 EU member states, the group now comprises 25 member states (ie, all member states except still persistent and inveterate foes of the Community patent Spain and Italy).
There is no reason to believe that the political process will be stopped at this point based on legal arguments, even if those relate to the creation of the new court system. The momentum appears strong. The European Parliament will confirm the draft law this year, as expected, and ratification should be finalised soon. Thus, 30 years of consultation between EU member states have come to an end; the Community patent is about to be born.
This article first appeared in IAM magazine. For further information please visit www.iam-magazine.com.