What We Do

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (IP) refers to the creations of the mind, such as inventions (patents); literary and artistic works (copyright); new product designs (industrial designs); and brand-names, symbols, or logos used to distinguish products and services from one undertaking from another (trade marks).

IP is a powerful tool for individuals and enterprises to help control their property rights. Ireland has in place a strong legal framework and intellectual property system that offers IP right holders the opportunity to be rewarded for their creativity and innovation and enabling society at large and the economy to benefit from their achievements.

Formal IP rights include patentstrade marks and industrial designs so called because they can be registered. Copyright is a different type of intellectual property relating to creations of the mind and is seen in everyday life in creative works such as books, films, music, art and software, as well as in more mundane objects such as cars, computers and medicines. Other types of informal IP rights include Plant Variety Rights, Geographical Indications of Origin, Trade Secrets and Topographies of Integrated circuits. For further information please see other IP Rights.

The Intellectual Property Unit of the Department is responsible for Ireland’s policy and legislation on IP that reflects developments in intellectual property policy and practice domestically, at EU level and in terms of international obligations to which Ireland is committed through various international agreements. 

The Irish Patents Office is responsible for the granting of patents; the registration of industrial designs and trade marks; and has certain functions in relation to copyright and related rights.

What’s current in Intellectual Property

European Union (Marrakesh Treaty) Regulations 2018 (SI No 412 of 2018)

October 2018

The European Union (Marrakesh Treaty Regulations) 2018 were signed into law by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD,  on 9 October 2018 and came into effect on 11 October 2018.

The Regulations transpose into Irish law EU Directive 2017/1564 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 September 2017 on certain permitted uses of certain works and other subject matter protected by copyright and related rights for the benefit of persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print-disabled and amending Directive 2001/29/EC on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society.

These Regulations allow for copies of copyright protected works (books, e-books, journals, newspapers, magazines and other kinds of writing) to be made available in accessible formats (e.g. Braille, large print, e-books or audiobook) for the blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print-disabled, without the permission of the rightsholder.

European Commission Public Consultation on IP enforcement

July 2018

Evaluation of the activities of the EU Intellectual Property Office related to enforcement and the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights (Regulation No 386/2012)

The consultation runs from 3 July to 2 October 2018.

Stakeholder consultation on the EU proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation No 469/2009 concerning the supplementary protection certificate for medicinal products

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation is seeking views from stakeholders and interested parties on a proposed Regulation intended to amend Regulation No. 469/2009 (the SPC Regulation) by introducing an export manufacturing waiver.

Submissions should be marked “EU Proposal on SPC Regulation” and can either be emailed to ipu@dbei.gov.ie or sent in hard copy to the Intellectual Property Unit, Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Kildare Street, Dublin 2, D02 TD30.

Closing date for submissions is close of business on 27 July 2018.

European Union (Protection of Trade Secrets) Regulations 2018

June 2018

Regulations transposing Directive 2016/943 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2016 on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure came into effect on 9 June 2018.

European Union (Protection of Trade Secrets) Regulations 2018 (No 188 of 2018) provide for civil redress measures and remedies in the event a trade secret is unlawfully acquired, used or disclosed. The Regulations also ensure the confidentiality of the trade secret during court proceedings by limiting access to the hearing and court documents containing the trade secret.

Further information on Trade Secrets

Public Consultation on measures to further improve the effectiveness of the fight against illegal content online

May 2018

Commission services have launched a public consultation on “measures to further improve the effectiveness of the fight against illegal content online”.  The deadline to submit replies is 25 June 2018.

The consultation is available at Public Consultation on measures to further improve the effectiveness of the fight against illegal content online

In case of questions please do not hesitate to contact DG CNECT at cnect-consultation-illegal-content@ec.europa.eu.

Entry into force of the EU Portability Regulation on 1 April 2018

April 2018

The European Commission launched its Digital Single Market Strategy in 2014 and one of the first measures adopted under this strategy was the Portability Regulation. This Regulation will allow EU consumers to have access to their online subscriptions to films, sports events, music streaming service, e-books and video games when travelling within the EU in the same way they access them at home. Up until recently, many online streaming and on-demand services were tailored to individual markets with different content available in each EU Member State. However, under the new rules consumers will be able to log in to their own personal accounts while travelling in the EU and continue to view their favourite movies and television shows as if they were at home.

All providers who offer paid online content services will have to follow the new rules, while providers of free content (such as the online services of public TV or radio broadcasters) will have the possibility to decide to also provide portability to their subscribers. Providers of online content will also benefit from the new rules as it will no longer be necessary for them to acquire licences for other territories where their subscribers are travelling to.

The portability regulation is applicable in all EU Member States from 1 April 2018. Further information on the Regulation can be found on the European Commission website.

Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Provisions Bill 2018

13 March 2018

Minister Humphreys and Minister of State John Halligan announce the publication of the Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Provisions Bill 2018.

Public Consultation on certain permitted uses of works and other subject-matter protected by copyright and related rights for the benefit of persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled Directive (EU) 2017/1564 implementing the Marrakesh Treaty

11 December 2017

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation invites submissions to a public consultation on the transposition of Directive (EU) 2017/1564 into Irish law.

The closing date for submissions is Wednesday 24 January 2018.

Department’s response to its consultation on the overlap of intellectual property protection between Industrial Designs and Copyright law

In 2016 the Department published a consultation paper inviting submissions on the overlap of intellectual property protection between Industrial Designs and Copyright.

The Department received submissions from a number of respondents and has, since the closing date of the consultation, analysed the submissions received. In February 2017 the Department published its response to the consultation, alongside the submissions received.

The Department’s response addresses the issues raised by respondents to the consultation. It details the proposed legislative amendments that would provide for the extension of the term of copyright for designs and artistic works exploited by an industrial process to life of the creator plus 70 years. The response also sets out transitional arrangements that would provide replica furniture manufacturers with a 12 month period in which they will have the opportunity to deplete their stock.

We would like to thank all of the respondents to the consultation for their submissions.

Trade Mark Reform Package: Big changes ahead for the National and European Trade Mark systems

The reform package comprises the biggest change to the legal landscape for European trade marks in over 20 years. The package consists of both procedural and substantive changes.

The purpose of the reforms are to foster innovation and economic growth by making trade mark registration systems all over the EU more accessible and efficient for businesses in terms of lower costs and complexity, increased speed, greater predictability and legal security. These revisions dovetail with efforts to ensure coexistence and complementarity between the Union and national trade mark systems.

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