It has been announced by the Irish Government that a referendum on Ireland becoming a full member of the UPC is being considered for mid-2024.  This would expand the jurisdiction of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) into its 18th country and will likely be seen as a vote of confidence in a Court that started accepting cases less than nine months ago.

The UPC is handling around 200 cases across its various divisions, despite taking a long time to arrive. Since the Court has none of its own case law predating June 2023, its adoption appears to be going smoothly. 

Should the UPC expand, all European patents and patent applications that were previously opted out of the jurisdiction of the UPC would continue to be opted out of the expanded UPC jurisdiction.  However, this will also mean that, for European patents granted from the date when Ireland becomes a full member of the UPC, Ireland would be included within the geographical scope of any Unitary Patent (UP) obtained.  Although this will not affect any UPs obtained before the UPC expands, it will add extra value for those considering obtaining a UP in future.

If you have any questions about any UPC or UP matters, please contact us at or by emailing your usual GJE contact.