Managing IP is part of the Delinian Group, Delinian Limited, 4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 00954730
Copyright © Delinian Limited and its affiliated companies 2023

Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

Irish UPC supporters target November referendum

Ha'penny Bridge in Dublin
Ha'penny Bridge in Dublin

Ireland must hold a referendum to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement, but the deputy prime minister has hinted that 2024 may be a possible date

Politicians, lawyers, and business officials have urged the Irish government to hold a referendum to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement no later than November this year, but the deputy prime minister has said a vote may not take place until 2024.

The Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC) and the Association of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys (APTMA) said today, March 14, that a vote on the Unified Patent Court (UPC) should take place alongside a gender equality referendum already scheduled for that month.

But Micheál Martin, the deputy prime minister, suggested in parliament last week that any UPC vote could be pushed back to next year.

The UPC is scheduled to open on June 1. However, Ireland won’t be able to establish a local division until the UPCA has been ratified.

A transfer of judicial powers to an international body such as the UPC requires a referendum under the Irish constitution.

It is not yet clear whether the government plans to hold a UPC vote on its own or alongside referendums on other issues.

Leo Varadkar, the prime minister, has previously said a UPCA referendum would not be held as a standalone vote.

Naoise Gaffney, chair of IBEC’s corporate IP group, told Managing IP the government should hold the vote later this year.

“Irish industry has consistently argued that while Ireland stands to gain significantly through participating in this specialist pan-European court system, it will only do so if it participates in a timely fashion.

“Time is of the essence. Pushing out Ireland’s ratification into 2024 would only benefit UPC locations elsewhere,” Gaffney said.

Several politicians have also urged swift ratification, including members of the two biggest parties in Ireland’s coalition government.

Jim O’Callaghan, a former barrister and member of parliament (TD) for the Fianna Fáil party, told Managing IP he would like to see the UPC vote held in November.

David Stanton, a TD for fellow coalition party Fine Gael, also suggested a November vote in a parliamentary question to Martin on Thursday, March 9.

In response, Martin declined to commit to a November date and suggested the vote could wait until 2024.

“I am always cautious about holding two or three referendums on the same day.

“We are holding referendums in November, but there is no reason that [we] could not hold a referendum on this matter in early 2024.”

He added: “We could just take it on, notwithstanding concerns about whether it would pass or whether people understand the complexities relating to the UPC,” Martin said.

Tríona Walshe, chair of APTMA’s UPC committee, said Irish businesses would be at a competitive disadvantage if Ireland did not become part of the UPC system this year.

Ireland plans to establish a local division of the court if the public votes to ratify the agreement.

The Irish government has stepped up its UPC preparations lately with the appointment of a civil servant to lead a dedicated unitary patent unit in the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment.

more from across site and ros bottom lb

More from across our site

Civil society and industry representatives met in Geneva on Thursday, September 28 to discuss a potential expansion of the TRIPS waiver
Sources say the beta version of the USPTO’s new trademark search tool is a big improvement over the current system but that it isn’t perfect
Canadian counsel weigh in on the IP office’s decision to raise trademark filing fees in 2024 and how they’re preparing clients
We provide a rundown of Managing IP’s news and analysis coverage from the week, and review what’s been happening elsewhere in IP
Shira Perlmutter, US Register of Copyrights, discussed the Copyright Office's role in forming generative AI policy during a House of Representatives hearing
The award marks one of the highest-ever damages received by a foreign company in a trademark infringement suit in China
Two orders denying public access to documents have reignited a debate over a lack of transparency at the new court
Rouse’s new chief of operations and the firm’s CEO tell Managing IP why they think private equity backing will help it conquer Europe
Brian Landry, partner at Saul Ewing, reveals how applicants can prosecute patent applications in the wake of the Federal Circuit's In re Cellect ruling
Ronelle Geldenhuys of Australia’s Foundry IP considers the implications complex computer technologies such as AI have on decision-making