Italy shifts position on the Unitary patent process


On 13 May 2015, the Italian Undersecretary for Economic Development, Simona Vicari released a statement saying that it is their priority to join the Unitary patent. This shift in position is due to the dismissal of the CJEU challenges from Spain and ‘confirmation that the legal framework of the Unitary patent package is not in dispute’. The government state that Italian participation in the Unitary patent process will assist in the fight against counterfeiting, encourage foreign investment and will assist small and medium sized enterprises. In addition, it will give them the opportunity to negotiate on renewal fees.

The Ministry of Economic Development ran a very brief consultation from 16-20 February 2015 as to whether Italy should: join the enhanced cooperation procedure and ratify the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement; should not join the enhanced cooperation on the Unitary patent, but ratify the UPC Agreement; or stay out of the enhanced cooperation on the Unitary patent and not ratify the UPC Agreement. Despite public objections from the College of Intellectual Property Consultants and CONFIMI, a confederation of 28,000 Italian manufacturing businesses, Italy has now opted to actively pursue the Unitary patent process.

Italy was one of the 25 countries who signed the UPC Agreement, but they have not ratified it. They also did not participate in the enhanced cooperation process for the Unitary patent along with Croatia, Spain and Poland.

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