This agreement signed in 2013 aims to establish a Unified Patent Court for the settlement of disputes relating to European patents and European patents with unitary effect. The Unified Patent Court will be a court common to the 25 Member States currently signed up to the Agreement.
A Preparatory Committee composed of representatives of the Signatory States has responsibility for the modalities involved in setting up the Court, including the legal framework, financial aspects, IT and human resources and training. Ireland is represented on this Committee by officials from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.
Further information on the work and progress of the Preparatory Committee can be found on their website www.unified-patent-court.org.
The Unified Patent Court
The Unified Patent Court, a new supranational court specialised in patent litigation, will have a wide and exclusive competence in respect of infringement and validity of European patents and European patents with unitary effect.
It will consist of a Court of First Instance, a Court of Appeal and a Registry. The Court of First Instance will comprise a central division with seat in Paris and sections in London and Munich as well as regional divisions and local divisions located in the Contracting Member States. The Court of Appeal will be located in Luxemburg. It is expected that the Unified Patent Court will quickly become a leading patent court at international level with a rapidly growing caseload.
Before Ireland can join the UPC Agreement, a constitutional referendum is necessary as the Agreement involves the transfer of jurisdiction for certain patent litigation from the Irish Courts to the new international Court. A decision on the timing of such a referendum is a matter for Government.
A brochure entitled 'An Enhanced European Patent System', has been compiled by the implementing Preparatory Committee and Select Committee giving a broad overview of the Unitary Patent system and the Unified Patent Court.
The timetable for the start of the period of provisional application and for the entry into force of the UPC Agreement is dependent on the finalisation of national procedures concerning the ratification of the UPC Agreement. In particular, a small number of Member States must still agree to be bound by the Protocol before the period of provisional application can start.
Further information is available on the UPC website