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Irish referendum on UPC participation postponed

The referendum to vote on Ireland’s participation in the Unified Patent Court (UPC) has been delayed.

We previously reported that a referendum on Ireland’s participation in the UPC was scheduled for 07 June 2024, to coincide with the European and local elections.

The Irish Government has now announced that this date will be deferred. The government has not provided any indication as to when the delayed referendum will occur.

The Irish Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Peter Burke, explained in the announcement that “While the government continues to believe that joining the UPC is essential and that the referendum should be pursued, … more time is needed for public discourse and engagement on the matter to help inform the debate”.

For now, the total number of UPC member states will therefore remain at seventeen, these being: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden. The UPC Agreement (UPCA) is currently in force in each of these states, all of which have ratified the UPCA.

At the time of writing, a further seven states (including Ireland) have signed but not ratified the UPCA. These states are: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Romania and Slovakia. The UPC will have no jurisdiction over each of these states until each state ratifies the UPCA.

It remains to be seen whether Ireland will be the next state to ratify the UPCA.

We will report on further developments in due course.

Useful link

News release from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment: “Government defers date for referendum on a Unified Patent Court”, 16 April 2024: dycip.com/ireland-upc-referendum-apr2024

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