The European Court of Justice smashes the unified jurisdiction on unitary patent

Paris, March 11st, 2011. Press release.

On March 8th 2011, the Court of Justice of European Union (CJEU) has published an opinion emphasizing the illegality of the proposal for a unified jurisdiction on patents which is currently discussed by the European Union. April welcomes this clear, concise and accurate decision, which strongly reasserts basic principles of law. The French association also points out1 that the European Court of Justice uses many points raised by April during the debates on the unitary patent, casting doubt on the enhanced cooperation on the unitary patent. The European Parliament's vote in February and the Commission's assertion of a successful unity on this matter appear to be only a giant with feet of clay.

The CJEU itself asserts that the current proposal “would alter the essential character of the powers conferred on the institutions of the European Union and on the Member States which are indispensable to the preservation of the very nature of European Union law.2. It moreover finds that the current proposal questions both the judicial system of the EU and the primacy of EU law.

These issues have already been raised by the Advocates General's opinion3”, explains Jeanne Tadeusz, public affairs officer at April. “Consequently, this decision is not surprising. Nevertheless, it is comforting that the CJEU emphasizes so clearly the threats in this project and that the Court reaffirms the basic democratic requirements applicable to everyone including patent organizations in Europe4.

Indeed, this decision puts on ice all the proposals for a unified jurisdiction which had been considered so far. “The Court goes beyond the Advocates General's opinion, by making it impossible to simply fix the project with minor amendments to its architecture. Following the CJEU's opinion, both EPLA and the unified jurisdiction have gotten the door slammed into their face”, emphasizes Gérald Sédrati-Dinet, voluntary counsel at April on patents. “The enhanced cooperation is left high and dry, since a unitary patent would not work without a unified jurisdiction to enforce it”.

April calls for the European institutions promoting the unitary patent to respect the law enacted by the CJUE, and to bring back the issue of patent law within the scope of the European Union and its institutions, in order to ensure the full application of basic rights and of the acquis communautaire.

See also the full analysis by April of the opinion published by the Court.

About April

Pioneer of free software in France, April is since 1996 a major player in the democratization and the spread of Free Software and open standards to the general public, professionals and institutions in the French-speaking world. In the digital era that is ours, it also aims to inform the public on the dangers of an exclusive appropriation of information an knowledge by private interests.

The association has over 5,300 members, using or producing Free Software.

For more information, you may go to the following website:, contact us by phone at +33 178 769 280 or through our contact form.

Press contacts:
Frédéric Couchet, Executive Director, +33 660 688 931
Jeanne Tadeusz, Public Affairs officer, +33 1 78 76 92 82