For Written Answer on : 06/07/2023
Question Number(s): 210 Question Reference(s): 33424/23
Department: Enterprise, Trade and Employment
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Enterprise; Trade and Employment to outline if the working groups, the interdepartmental committee on the Unified Patent Court and the Enterprise Agencies Forum on the Unified Patent Court, previously established to examine the workings of Ireland’s participation in the Unified Patent Court, have been reconvened, or when they will be reconvened; the current membership of, and organisations represented by, these working groups; 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. A Yes vote for the new Unitary Patent Court would bring reduced legal costs for researchers, inventors and businesses, in particular for micro and SMEs. The timing of this Referendum will be a matter for Government to decide.
There are no immediate plans to reconvene any previous working groups. A new Oversight Committee will be established at the appropriate time in advance of a referendum. The Committee will comprise the key stakeholders to support the work. A Communications Campaign is also being devised.
The preparatory work underway also includes drafting a Constitutional Amendment Bill along with a Regulatory Impact Assessment. Amendments to the national patent legislation will also be required to recognise both the new Unitary Patent and the UPC Agreement.
Preparations also involve engaging with the Department of Justice on the establishment of a new court and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage regarding the work of the Electoral Commission in relation to a referendum.
A local division of the Unified Patent Court will be created in Ireland if the State ratifies the Agreement under which the court is established. A Local Unitary Patent Court in Ireland will offer users an accessible, cost-effective, and more efficient option for broad patent protection and dispute settlement across Europe. A single litigation process will cover all participating member states, rather than costly litigation in individual jurisdictions. Small and Micro-entities will benefit from a 40% reduction in court fees.