A local division of the Unified Patent Court will be established in Ireland, allowing businesses to resolve disputes around patents locally, more cheaply, and more easily than before.
The court will be established once the State ratifies the international Agreement on a Unified Patent Court, which was signed during the Irish EU Presidency in February 2013. The agreement, which includes the creation of a European Patent, has not yet been ratified by all states but the court is expected to be up and running in 2016.
When established, the Court will allow individuals/businesses to file actions under patent law in a single court case to decide on the validity of a patent throughout up to 25 EU Member States thereby eliminating the need for country-by-country patent litigation and thereby substantially reducing legal costs and time.
The Unified Patent Court is part of a package of measures designed to make patenting of inventions and protection for those patents in Europe more streamlined, cost effective and to provide greater choice for European businesses.
Announcing the decision, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said: "I am delighted to announce that we will establish a local division of the Unified Patent Court in Ireland, in the event that the international agreement is ratified".
“This new court is an important boost for innovation in Ireland. It will mean that businesses involved in innovation activities will be able to resolve disputes over patents locally, more cheaply and more easily than before.
Mr Bruton added that the court will many other benefits, including the development of a wider pool of innovation-related skills in Ireland, and will also act as a support for businesses seeking to carry out R&D activities in Ireland.
“SMEs stand to benefit in particular, as the costs involved in enforcing intellectual property rights impact smaller businesses disproportionately and can act as a barrier to them engaging in R&D activities,” Mr Bruton said.
ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, welcomed the move, as Mark Fielding, ISME CEO, said that the court is the “preferable option for Irish SMEs in terms of reducing the potential costs and disturbance associated with attending the Court”.
“It will also ensure that the Irish Courts and the legal profession will develop an expertise in patent litigation and, thus, allow SMEs to access such expertise in their own jurisdiction,” he said.