The Government’s rationale for its decision to take this path, instead of opting for a regional division, is to encourage innovation. The idea is that SMEs will be able to take advantage of the new unitary patent right and to resolve unitary patent disputes locally, in a more cost effective manner than might otherwise be the case.

This is very good news for business and comes after a concerted lobbying campaign by business and the intellectual property profession to establish a Unified Patent Court . However the adoption of the unitary patent system is still subject to ratification by the State following a national referendum in late 2015. Supposing that this result is positive, the new system is likely to commence in the 2016 / 2017 time frame.