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Call to couple patent court with constitutional vote
Pic: Shutterstock

14 Mar 2023 / IP Print

Call to couple patent court with constitutional vote

Business lobbyists IBEC and the Association of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys (APTMA) have together called for a referendum to ratify the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement to be held in November 2023, alongside the referendum on gender equality. Ireland is legally required to hold a referendum to ratify the UPC Agreement.

APTMA’s UPC chair Tríona Walshe said: “We urge Government to hold the necessary referendum this November to ensure that Irish businesses have the same strategic competitive advantage available under the new UPC system as those businesses in European countries, which are already part of the new UPC system.

The group welcomed the support of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment for “expediting the timing of the referendum on this important issue”.

“Companies clearly recognise the urgency at stake. Four out of five companies responding to a joint IBEC-APTMA survey stated that the referendum must take place in 2023.

“Successful ratification will allow Ireland to fully participate in the new pan-European patent system. A new local division of the court is to be established in Dublin, which will support the further expansion of the patent-intensive sectors across the country, creating jobs, benefitting SMEs, and boosting Ireland’s innovation performance.”

May 2024 was the latest indicative date for the UPC referendum because it wasn’t going to be run as a stand-alone issue.

Ireland stands to gain significantly through participating in this specialist pan-European court system, the lobbyists believe.


A conservative estimate of the value that our participation in the UPC could add to the Irish economy is estimated to be in the region of €1.7 billion per annum.

“However, much of the opportunity is dependent on Ireland’s participation in a timely fashion. Establishing a well-run and attractive local division that is ready to go shortly after the UPC starts operating will be key to competing for patent litigation to be heard before the Irish-based court,” IBEC said.

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