Ireland Reaffirms that it will Participate in the UPC
Ireland is one of the twenty-four EU states that signed the UPC Agreement in 2013 but which, along with seven other states, has yet to ratify the UPC Agreement. The UPC is expected to come into force later in 2022 or in the first half of 2023 for those states that have already ratified. However, Ratification of the UPC Agreement by Ireland will be required before it can participate fully in the UPC system. For instance, Unitary Patents registered before Ireland deposits its ratification of the UPC Agreement will not cover Ireland.
The Irish constitution requires that a referendum be held before ratification of the UPC Agreement can be deposited. The Irish government yesterday issued a press release reaffirming its intention to take part in the UPC system.
Stating that ratification of the UPC Agreement will not be a standalone referendum, a general timetable of 2023 or 2024 has been suggested for a constitutional referendum including a question relating to ratification of the UPC Agreement. It is likely therefore to be some time before Unitary Patents covering Ireland can be registered and actions relating to infringement of a European patent in Ireland can be brought before the UPC. Nevertheless, this represents further progress towards the UPC system covering all twenty-four EU states that have signed the Agreement.