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Title:Contentions of language: Multilingalism and the language regime of the European unitary patent system
Author(s):Bauer, Victoria L.
Advisor(s):Faygal, Zsuzsanna
Contributor(s):Vander Most, Neil
Department / Program:Liberal Arts & Sciences
Discipline:European Union Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):European Union
European Unitary Patent System
Language Use
Language Regimes
European Union Institutions
Abstract:Supranational communication in the European Union would be impossible without languages of wider distribution that are used in written and oral communications between citizens and within European institutions. Although twenty-four languages that are official in at least one member state are also official in the European Union, ‘working’ or ‘procedural’ languages that are used in daily communication in EU institutions are few in number and based on selection criteria that are not well understood. This poses a problem because working languages with wide communicative reach can guarantee first-hand access to vital legal and administrative information to those who can speak, read, and write them over those who do not. Whether they are used in internal affairs or external communication with citizens, these languages can yield unfair advantage and lead to conflict between national interests and collective identities. In this thesis, I analyze a controversy based on a court case regarding the working languages of the European Unitary Patent System (EUPS). Initially assumed to take effect in 2011, the EUPS was expected to provide patent protection for innovations in every state of the EU with the submission of a single request. Once accepted, the patents would have been published only in French, German, and English. I provide an analysis of court documents, public commentaries, and rules and regulations to show why Italy and Spain disagreed with the proposed language regime, took the Council to the Court of Justice in 2011 and 2015, and lost their case in 2013 and 2015, respectively. I conclude on the necessity for greater transparency in matters of procedural language use and the importance of cost-effective language regimes with a potential for the participation of smaller national communities in the everyday administrative dealings of the EU.
Issue Date:2019-07-19
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Victoria Bauer
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-11-26
Date Deposited:2019-08

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