The concept of a single EU patent is being developed by the EC with Member States. An EU patent should be able to give patent protection across Europe, rather than in each country separately. This would make substantial savings for companies and encourage innovation in Europe.
However, Italy and Spain are opposed to the latest proposals, claiming that the proposed language regime for the new EU patent unfairly focuses on English, French and German. By claiming linguistic discrimination, Italy and Spain have effectively pulled out of the EU patent plans. And they are not happy about the remaining 25 member states moving on without them – the Enhanced Cooperation procedure allows the rest of the member states to adopt new common rules, even withoug unanimous EU-wide agreement.
Italy believe that this is setting a negative precedent in the European integration process. Spain say that excluding their language is discriminating against their country so violating the fundamental values of the European Union.
Despite the legal appeal by Spain and Italy, the EC will continue to develop the single patent. However, without unanimous agreement across EU Member States, the proposals have been scaled back to be less innovative and less ambitious. The EU hope that Spain and Italy will eventually rejoin the single EU patent movement.