In 2011, Spain and Italy brought actions before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJ) claiming that the Council of the European Union, by authorising the enhanced cooperation procedure, circumvented the requirement of unanimity and disregarded those two Member States’ objections to the European Commission’s proposal on the language arrangements for the single European patent.
Examining this argument, the CJ stressed that the Council’s decision to authorise enhanced cooperation, having found that the single European patent and its language arrangements could not be established by the EU as a whole within a reasonable period, by no means constitutes circumvention of the requirement of unanimity or exclusion of those Member States that did not join in making requests for enhanced cooperation, but rather, having regard to its being impossible to reach common arrangements for the whole EU within a reasonable period, contributes to the process of integration.
The CJ has also held to be unfounded Spain and Italy’s argument that the protection conferred by that unitary patent would not be advantageous in terms of uniformity, and so of integration, compared to the situation created by the operation of the rules laid down by the EPC.
Contrary to what has been claimed, the CJ stated that the contested decision does not damage the internal market or the economic, social and territorial cohesion of the EU. What is more, according to the CJ, the contested decision does not prejudice any competence, right or obligation of those Member States not participating in this enhanced cooperation.
For further information, please click here; to read the full text of the judgement, here.