For Written Answer on : 05/07/2023
Question Number(s): 90 Question Reference(s): 33137/23
Department: Enterprise, Trade and Employment
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Enterprise; Trade and Employment to provide an update on the work of drafting the Amendment of the Constitution (Unified Patent Court) Bill seeking to amend Article 29 of the Constitution to recognise the international agreement on a Unified Patent Court; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
In June 2022, Government reaffirmed Ireland’s commitment to participate in the Unitary Patent System and the Unified Patent Court (UPC), and to hold the necessary constitutional referendum to enable Ireland to do so.
An amendment to the Constitution is required before Ireland can ratify the Agreement on the UPC (UPCA), as the Agreement entails a transfer of jurisdiction from the Irish courts to an international court. Should the required Referendum pass successfully, it is proposed to amend Article 29 of the Constitution by inserting a new section referring to the UPCA.
The General Scheme of the Bill to amend the Constitution has previously been approved by Government and a preliminary draft of the Bill is complete. Further progression of the Bill before the Houses to publication stage has implications for the overall timing of the Referendum, and therefore the Department has not yet sought Government approval to proceed with the Bill. The timing of this Referendum will be a matter for Government to decide.
A local division of the Unified Patent Court will be created in Ireland if the State ratifies the UPCA. The establishment of a local division of the UPC in Ireland will offer users an accessible, cost-effective, and more efficient option for broad patent protection and dispute settlement across Europe. The new system enables uniform patent protection across all participating EU Member States by way of a single patent application and provide a centralised platform for Europe-wide patent litigation before the UPC. Savings for businesses will be significant in this area and the simplified system will make it easier, particularly for micro and small businesses, to protect their IP while engaging with a broader EU export market.