Spanish parliament calls on the government to join the unitary patent and UPC system


On 7 March 2017 the Committee on Economy, Industry and Competitiveness of the Spanish Congress of Deputies (the Spanish parliament’s lower chamber) debated and approved a non-legislative motion calling on the government to join the unitary patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC) system (here).  As previously reported (here), the motion was brought by the opposition party PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero Español) on 13 February 2017, formally calling on the government to reconsider its longstanding opposition to the project, and take steps to: (i) join the enhanced cooperation in the creation of unitary patent protection; (ii) sign the UPC Agreement; and (iii) request that the London section of the central division of the UPC is transferred to Spanish territory.

Now approved, the non-legislative motion will take the form of a declaration on behalf of the Spanish parliament which is not binding on the government.  Notably, although the motion was passed, PP (Partido Popular, the party holding the minority government) reportedly voted against the motion, being the only party to do so.  Since the government appears to maintain its stance on the project and is not bound by the parliament’s call, it appears unlikely that we will see any changes regarding Spain’s unitary patent/UPC participation in the near future. Nonetheless, it is encouraging from the perspective of the future of the UPC that some within a state which has long vehemently opposed the system are now expressing support for participation.

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