The European Parliament gave its consent on 15 February 2011 for a common EU patent system to be created using the enhanced cooperation procedure. In December 2010, twelve Member States made a request to launch such a procedure, after it was concluded that not all the Member States could agree on an EU-wide patent system.
All the other Member States except Italy and Spain have since indicated they will sign up to the procedure. These two countries can still join in at any time if they wish. The Council of Competitiveness Ministers is expected to formally adopt the decision authorising enhanced cooperation on 9-10 March. The Commission will then submit two legislative proposals: one establishing the single patent (under the co-decision procedure) and the other on the language regime (consultation procedure).