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For Written Answer on : 11/07/2023
Question Number(s): 255 Question Reference(s): 33772/23
Department: Enterprise, Trade and Employment
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.


To ask the Minister for Enterprise; Trade and Employment if any sectoral or regional analysis has been undertaken on the potential benefits to national companies of Ireland’s participation in the Unified Patent Court agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


In June 2022, the Government reaffirmed its commitment to participate in the Unitary Patent System and the Unified Patent Court, and to hold the necessary constitutional referendum to enable Ireland to do so. My Department officials are currently advancing preparations for the constitutional referendum which will enable the transfer of jurisdictional powers from Irish Courts to the new International Court. The timing of this Referendum will be a matter for Government to decide.

The preparatory work underway includes a Regulatory Impact Assessment, a component of which will be a cost benefit analysis comparing the economic impact of the establishment of a local division in Ireland against the non-establishment of the same. Due to the diverse nature of patents used across and within sectors, it is impractical to focus on the benefits to any one region. As it is current practice to complete a regulatory impact assessment as legislation is being prepared, my Department is engaged in this process as it evolves.

The  benefit of the establishment of a local division of the Court would represent a positive international signal, affirming Ireland’s interest in competing for intellectual property based FDI.  A Yes vote for the new Unitary Patent Court would bring reduced legal costs for researchers, inventors and businesses as the current estimate for a company is that it will cost less than €4,700 to maintain a unitary patent for an average lifetime of ten years under the new system, if it is validated across the 24 participating member states, whereas it currently costs about €30,000 today, without this new system.

There are also very significant savings for Irish businesses that are reliant on export markets within the European Union to enable their growth and expansion. The simplified and much cheaper system of patent protection will make it easier, particularly for micro and small businesses, to export to more EU countries, and protect their IP while doing it. Businesses in other participating member states will have access to their own local patent court and we want to ensure that our companies have that same beneficial access here in Ireland.