Unified Patent Court referendum set for June

Unified Patent Court referendum set for June

A constitutional amendment allowing Ireland to participate in the Unified Patent Court (UPC) will take place in June.

The government yesterday confirmed plans to hold the referendum alongside the European and local elections, with a bill to be brought to the Oireachtas as a matter of priority.

The UPC became operational last summer and 17 EU member states are currently participating in it.

Two UK law firms with a focus on intellectual property law — Powell Gilbert and Bristows — opened new offices in Dublin in response to the opening of the UPC.

The UPC has jurisdiction over the new unitary patents as well as existing European patents and will allow companies to enforce their patent rights more effectively.

The new unitary patent system offers a cost-effective way for patent protection in the participating member states as it eliminates the need for national validation and renewal procedures in each EU country, which are costlier and more burdensome.

The Irish government proposes to allow Ireland to join the UPC by inserting a new subsection 11 in section 4 of Article 29 of the Constitution.

This is necessary as it entails a transfer of jurisdiction in patent litigation from the Irish courts to an international court.

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