Politics and the patent court referendum

Irish firms risk being sidelined due to political inertia

Letters to the Editor. Illustration: Paul Scott

Sir, – It is not every day that you read about patents in a national broadsheet, and certainly I cannot remember ever seeing the subject make it to the editorial (“The Irish Times view on postponing the next referendum: avoiding a potential banana skin”, April 12th). Politically you can, of course, see the rationale of kicking the referendum to touch, but sometimes you would hope that the people elected to lead the country would actually show some leadership.

Your piece says that the situation is “unfortunate”.

I say that, rather than run away from a potentially difficult campaign, the politicians should recognise that Ireland being out of the unitary patent system is damaging our reputation and relevance in Europe. It runs contrary to us professing to be a strong European nation which is pro-business, forward thinking, and open. We missed the opportunity to be in from the beginning because of Government inaction, and we need to remedy that as soon as possible. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 4.

Sir, – Your editorial on the Unified Patent Court (UPC) referendum is a reasonable summary of the current situation, but lets the Government off the hook.

Indeed, the issue has yet to imprint itself on the public consciousness, but that doesn’t happen by itself. Ireland signed the UPC agreement as far back as 2013, but successive governments, three or more depending on whether you count rotating taoisigh, have kicked the referendum can down the road and have hardly done much in that time to educate the electorate on the merits of ratifying the UPC, notwithstanding the constraints of the McKenna principles. The Brexit vote in 2016 should have heightened the urgency for Ireland to join the UPC as the only remaining English speaking common law country in the UPC, but instead we’re still outside the system, and so Irish businesses, which our new Taoiseach is so keen to champion, are disadvantaged compared to their European counterparts. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 14.