UPC | Referendum deferred in Ireland

Unified Patent Court (UPC) has started its operation on June 1, 2023. The UPC system simplifies patenting in Europe such that it is possible to request unitary effect for a granted European patent in countries, which have ratified the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA) (17 EU member states at the moment). A European patent with unitary effect may also be referred to as a Unitary Patent (UP).

UPC member states

The countries which have ratified the UPCA are at the moment (marked with green in the map): Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden.


Referendum deferred in Ireland

The UPCA has been signed by 24 current EU member states, including Ireland. Ireland is not a Contracting Member State of the UPC yet though, because Ireland has not ratified the UPCA.

Ireland belongs to the European Patent Convention (EPC) anyway and has participated in the regulation of the UP. Consequently, Ireland may choose to ratify the UPCA and become a UPC Contracting Member State.

A referendum has to be arranged in Ireland before joining, because an amendment to the Constitution is required. The plan was to arrange the referendum in Ireland in June 2024, but the referendum has been deferred. According to Minister Burke, more time is needed for public discourse on the matter, but at least he remains committed to Ireland participating in the UPC and sees that it would bring many benefits for their economy.

We will continue to actively monitor the situation and get back to you as soon as we know more.


Original news can be found here.

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