Following the recent decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union dismissing the Spanish challenge to the legality of the EU laws enacted to provide for the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC) (as reported in our previous article), the Italian Ministry of Economic Development has issued a press release stating that the accession to the Unitary Patent is now a priority for Italy.
This ends years of Italian opposition to the Unitary Patent. Even though it had already signed the UPC Agreement, which will have jurisdiction over (non-unitary) European patents as well as Unitary Patents, it had previously appeared to be unwilling to accede to the Unitary Patent itself. This positive development, if followed through, means that the Unitary Patent will now cover Italy, one of the largest economies in the EU.
So that the EU regulations relating to the Unitary Patent apply to it, Italy will need to become a party to the “enhanced cooperation” mechanism available within the framework of the Treaty on European Union, which was used to pass the regulations in the face of Italy’s (and Spain’s) opposition in the first place. Italy also needs to ratify the UPC Agreement. Given the recent change in Italy’s position, it is hoped that the Italian Government will be proactive in ensuring that these requirements are met without any delay.