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Ireland To Hold Referendum Regarding UPC Participationa – Patent

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The UPC is a new international court set up by the participating
member states to deal with the infringement and validity of both
Unitary Patents and European patents. Its rulings will apply to all
member states that have ratified the UPC Agreement. The UPC will
enable patent proprietors to defend or challenge a patent via a
single litigation process, instead of having to take multiple
actions in individual member states.

The Tánaiste of Ireland stated that ratification of the UPC Agreement
will not be a standalone referendum, but will be combined with
other referenda and therefore, will not be held this year. However,
a constitutional referendum may be held in 2023, or run
concurrently with the Local and European Elections in 2024.

Benefits of the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court
include:

  • access to a new Unified Patent Court (UPC) with exclusive
    competence to hear cases relating to the Unitary Patent and
    competence to hear cases relating to traditionally validated
    European patents*. This new court will enable patent rights to be
    enforced across participating member states without the need to
    deal with multiple national court systems.

  • the ability for innovators, researchers, businesses, and SMEs
    to choose to obtain patent protection in Ireland via file patent
    applications as a national patent, a traditional European Patent,
    or a Unitary Patent.

  • access (potentially) to a Local Division hosted in Ireland. The
    Unified Patent Court will comprise a court of first instance made
    up of a central division (hosted in Paris and Munich) with a number
    of local and regional divisions across participating member states.
    If a Local Division is hosted in Ireland then Irish businesses
    would be able to litigate unitary patents on Irish soil which in
    turn would create a wider pool of national skills and competencies
    in Intellectual Property.

*Note that during a transitional period of 7-14 years patent
owners can, if they choose, opt their traditionally validated
European patents out of the competence of the new Unified Patent
Court.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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