The Unified Patent Court (UPC)

United Patent Court Bill cover page 1
United Patent Court Bill cover page 2

Proposed forty-first amendment of the Constitution (Agreement on a Unified Patent Court) Bill 2024. See Oireachtas Bill here.

This UPC Bill would infringe on several Articles of An Bunreacht 1937.

This amendment has been discussed in our Government offices for the past 50 years.

It was passed by the Government and both houses of the Oireachtas in 2013 (i.e. 11 years ago). Since the legislation has been passed, how many amendments and ratifications have been made to this Bill since then? The political and economic landscapes have changed significantly since then.

If this is so important, why has it taken this long to implement?

It requires a referendum to amend Article 29.4 to make it into law.

The Unified Patent Court (UPC)

Referendum defeats put government under pressure

It seems that the Irish politicians had assumed that the bills and referenda would sail through without the Irish people noticing. There is surprise amongst the ministers that their one-sided Yes campaign failed and that there is considerable contact regarding the Hate Speech Bill.

Click here for RTE article.

While there are obvious benefits for large global organisations, there are costs and risks to both smaller businesses and to private individuals which must be safe-guarded at all costs.

Another point to consider is, Who will be dictating to Irish businesses if this is sub-contracted to another continent?

UPC patent court is 50 years in the making

50 Years in the making: European unitary patent comes into effect

"After fifty years of trial and error, litigation and diplomatic stand-offs, innovators can finally apply for a unitary patent that protects intellectual property in up to 25 EU countries at the same time...

...Applying for a unitary patent is free and maintaining them will cost less than €5,000 in the first ten years, the average lifetime of a European patent...

...The proposal for a unitary patent was first floated around 1949.

...After multiple failed attempts, in 2009 EU member states finally agreed to reform the European patent system, but the problems didn’t stop then. Spain and Italy opposed in protest at the designation of English, French and German as the sole patent languages....

Seventeen member states are fully ready for the launch..., and another eight... [including Ireland], are expected to ratify the agreement soon...

This isn’t the end for EU’s patent system revamp. EU proposals cover standard essential patents (SEPs) that set out requirements for complying with industry standards, such as 5G mobile standards; the compulsory licensing of patents in crisis situations; and supplementary protection certificates through which pharma companies can extend the patent life of drugs.

Industry hit out at the new rules for SEPs, claiming the changes would mean that the management of patents that are essential to ensuring companies can license rights to use them would be turned over to an agency with no previous experience with patents or standards.

On Wednesday, the European Association of Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO) joined in on the criticism of the Commission’s SEPs revamp plan, saying the proposed regulation is too far-reaching and disruptive, and could be detrimental to Europe’s innovation ecosystem.

The danger is that global processes for technology transfer that over the years have balanced to interests of innovators and technology implementors, will be disrupted, EARTO says.

In addition, the proposed Regulation will severely increase the costs for IP owners to participate in technical standardisation processes and SEP licensing. This would discourage RD&I actors such as universities and RTOs from participating in the process.

There will be local Council elections together with European Parliament elections on June 7th 2024, together with a referendum to amend Article 29.4 to allow for the Patent Courts to take precedence over our Sovereign Irish judicial system and Courts.

As with any amendments to our Constitution, once we have relinquished our national rights, we will not be able to recover them, so it is important that Irish voters do their research before casting their votes.

Billy Kelleher said in another RTE show that the Government doesn't like holding referenda on the same day as ordinary elections...

It could be argued that the amendments to the Constitution would not get due attention and public scrutiny. If elections were to overshadow the referenda, it could mean that there would be limited debate on them. This could rob the voters of their opportunity to tease out the implications and to have clearly informed viewpoints.