The Spanish Parliament voted earlier this week in favor of a motion (i.e. Non-Legislative Proposition –NLP) aimed at getting the Government to reconsider its position and take the necessary steps for Spain to join the Unitary Patent system. The request was filed by the Socialist Party (PSOE), the main party of the opposition, on 14 February –a copy, in Spanish, is available here.
The NLPs are motions filed by the parliamentary political groups on all types of issues. They are not binding and do not have any legal effects. Their purpose is to encourage the Government to take specific actions as well as to express the Parliament's views on certain matters.
According to the PSOE's motion, the Government should reconsider joining the UPC system in order not to "seriously damage the competitiveness of our companies and our innovation process, once such system enters into force". Maintaining the opposition to the UPC system on the –sole- basis of the linguistic regime would imply, in the PSOE's opinion, high costs to the Spanish companies which will continue to be required to file validations in each jurisdiction where they want to enforce their patent rights.
By means of the NLP, the PSOE urges the Government:
- To take all necessary steps to join the enhanced cooperation system in the creation of unitary patent protection;
- To sign off the Unified Patent Court agreement;
- To request the relocation in the Spanish territory of the Unified Patent Court specialized division planned to sit in London –as a result of the "UK's imminent exit from the European Union", and
- To continue to defend the Spanish language as a scientific-technological language in all areas.
According to some press sources, the motion would have received the support from all parties within the Parliament with the exception of the Partido Popular, the party leading a minority government since the last general elections taking place in June 2016.