Spain which is the main opponent to the project of unitary patent has introduced actions seeking the annulment of regulations 1257/2012/UE and 1260/2012/UE which aims respectively the creation of a unitary patent protection and the related translation regulations.
The Advocate General raises that the unitary patent protection takes effect after the granting of a patent by the European Patent Office (E.P.O) and that regulation 1257/2012/UE does not affect the European Patent Convention that must be observed by the member states of the European Union.
Thus, the legality of regulation 1257/2012/UE cannot depend on the compatibility of the granting decisions taken by the EPO with EU law.
Besides, regarding the translation regulations, the Advocate General explains that the adopted system aims to ensure unitary patent protection whilst enabling a significant reduction in translation cost. The system complies with the principle of proportionality since it involves translation of the unitary patent in the event of a dispute and translation cost reimbursements for applicants who have not filed their patent application in one of the three official languages (English, German and French).
Thus, the Advocate General concludes that the choice of languages pursues a legitimate objective and is appropriate and proportionate.
The Court of Justice is not bound by the Advocate General‘s Opinion
If the date for the Court of Justice’s decision has not been set yet, it is desirable that this decision be taken early due to its importance for the future development of the unitary patent.