10 March 2017
Madrid
Reporter: Barney Dixon

Spain edges toward unitary patent


Political support for the EU unitary patent system is growing in Spain, where a non-binding motion asking the government to begin talks to join has been passed.

The non-legislative proposal was filed in February by the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) and approved on 7 March, without change.

PSOE said it was “necessary to reconsider the position of the Spanish government”, as it is only one of two EU member states that remain outside of the system.

Spain and Italy were early critics of the unitary patent, going as far as to launch lawsuits to prevent it from being implemented. They ultimately failed at the Court of Justice of the EU.

Italy joined the system in 2015, leaving Spain outside of the system. Poland pulled out in 2013.

“Maintaining [Spain’s] opposition to the unitary patent system ... will seriously undermine the competitiveness of our companies and our innovation process once this system comes into force,” PSOE argued.

The motion is non-binding, so the Spanish government does not need to respond, although PSOE is reportedly expected to take further action if no response is forthcoming.

Spain's ruling People's Party does not have a firm majority and the main opposition, PSOE, is a minority.

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