News & Events

Government defers date for referendum on a Unified Patent Court

The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Peter Burke TD has confirmed that Government this morning has agreed to defer the date for the referendum for the ratification of the agreement on a Unified Patent Court, which was due to be held on June 7th to coincide with the European and Local elections.

Minister Burke said:

“While the Government continues to believe that joining the UPC is essential and that the referendum should be pursued, it is clear to me that more time is needed for public discourse and engagement on the matter to help inform the debate.

“The June elections will give rise to diverse issues and campaigns involving local and European candidates, which may crowd out a debate on the Patent Court. Feedback suggests that many people are unfamiliar with the Patent Court and there is not a significant level of awareness among the electorate ahead of the proposed referendum.

“As Minister for Enterprise, I remain committed to Ireland participating in the UPC and see many benefits for our economy: for the competitiveness of the small business sector; for Ireland’s overall national competitiveness and reputation; and for supporting the Science and R&D agenda.

“We need to have a broader discussion around the importance of Unitary Patents, the jurisdictional matters relating to the Court, and the economic benefits that joining the UPC would bring.  However, I believe considered debate around these subjects would be in danger of being lost among the other issues that will dominate the campaigns over the coming seven weeks.

“I remain laser-focused on supporting our SMEs and the wider business sector during my tenure and I am currently working with officials and partners in Government to see how best we can use all the levers available to us to target this support”.