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Ireland’s participation in the Unified Patent Court is a win – win for businesses – Stanton

Business group estimates new system could be worth €1.6 billion to Irish economy annually

1st October 2023 - David Stanton TD

Ireland’s participation in the EU’s Unified Patent Court system must happen soon given the enormous economic potential it will have for businesses here, according to Fine Gael TD David Stanton.


Deputy Stanton said it is essential that Government facilitates a referendum for Ireland to become a member of the Unified Patent Court system as soon as is practicable as it will lead to a simpler and cheaper system of patent protection for Irish businesses.


Deputy Stanton, Fine Gael’s Dáil spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment said: “In June last year, Government reaffirmed its commitment to participate in the Unitary Patent System and the Unified Patent Court, and to hold a constitutional referendum which is required for membership.

“The European Union patent court system came into effect on 1st June and it has been ratified by 17 countries, but Ireland is currently not one of them.


“Setting up a local unitary patent court in Ireland will offer users an accessible, cheaper and more efficient option for broad patent protection and dispute settlements.


“Businesses can defend or challenge a patent via a single litigation process rather than costly litigation in each individual member state, therefore companies are expected to benefit from substantial savings in this area.


“It was confirmed to me that a yes vote for the new Unitary Patent Court would bring reduced legal costs for researchers, inventors and businesses as the current estimate for a company is that it will cost less than €4,700 to maintain a unitary patent for an average lifetime of ten years. It currently costs about €30,000 without the new system.


“Business group IBEC estimates that our participation in unitary patent system here could be worth as much as €1.6 billion per year to the Irish economy, so it is essential that we sign up in a timely fashion.


“Irish businesses reliant on export markets within the European Union to enable their growth and expansion will also benefit from cost savings.


The new system of patent protection will also make it easier for micro and small businesses to export to more EU countries, and protect their IP while doing it.


“I received confirmation from the Taoiseach this week that Government is working towards holding a referendum to coincide with the local and European elections next year, although that is not formally or officially decided.


“My colleague, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney, confirmed to me that work is already underway to draft a constitutional amendment Bill.


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 communications campaign is being devised and an oversight committee is being established to support the work.


“Businesses in other participating member states have access to their own local patent court and it would be hugely positive for Ireland to have the same access to its advantage,” Deputy Stanton concluded.

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