Brussels

EU court rejects Italo-Spanish patent appeal

Parliament will weigh signing up says Moavero

EU court rejects Italo-Spanish patent appeal

Brussels, April 16 - The European Court of Justice on Tuesday rejected an appeal by Italy and Spain against the single European Union patent approved by the other 25 EU members in 2011. Rome and Madrid claimed the patent introduced "unacceptable discrimination" because it is only written in French, English and German. Italy's EU affairs minister, Enzo Moavero, said Italy "takes note of the ruling" and parliament would now weigh whether to drop its opposition to the patent and join its partners. When the patent was approved the Italian government called called it "one of the most divisive pages in European Union history". Spain's secretary of state for EU affairs, Diego Lopez Garrido, said it was "a discriminatory measure that goes against the principles of the European Union". The plan to introduce a single process for EU patents went forward in March 2011 when EU competitiveness ministers endorsed the rarely used mechanism of 'reinforced cooperation' among the 25 EU members who approved the plan. Single Market Commissioner Michel Barnier said at the time that Italy and Spain could come back into the process "at any time". Hailing the single patent as a step forward against copyright crime, he denied charges of discrimination, saying Italian and Spanish firms could use it. Italy argued that issues concerning languages require unanimity.

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