Our website uses cookies to enhance your browsing experience and to collect information about how you use this site to improve our service to you. By not accepting cookies some elements of the site, such as video, will not work. Please visit our Cookie Policy page for more information on how we use cookies.

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 Intellectual Property Office of Ireland 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

Ideas Powered for Business SME Fund

The Ideas Powered for Business SME Fund is a €20 million grant scheme created to help European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) develop their IP strategies and protect their IP rights, at national or EU level. The scheme is operated by the EUIPO in conjunction with the national IP Offices including the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland.  

Commencing on 1 March 2021, Irish SME’s can receive 50% off the basic application fees of national and EU trade marks and designs. 

IPA4SME – successfully protecting intellectual property  

The IPA4SME programme, which first launched in May 2019, is a European Commission project which has been successfully accompanying small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) on their path to intellectual property (IP) valorisation, helping them to protect their valuable IP. To date, over 1.000 SMEs from 30 countries have benefited from the programme. 

IPA4SME offers SMEs that have been awarded the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument Seal of Excellence a unique opportunity to acquire IP valorisation and protection by co-financing a range of IP-related services, worth up to €15,000. 

These services include free IP pre-diagnostics, where a verified IP expert provides the companies with a customised report on their IP business strategy and advises on how to exploit their assets efficiently and securely. Beneficiaries can also have their IP protection costs reimbursed, particularly IP attorney and European patent application fees. 

Open call  

The closing date for the eighth cut-off in the current call is 25 February 2021. This is an excellent chance for eligible SMEs to receive up to €15,000 to support their IP strategy or patent registration.

Interested SMEs can apply here

Feedback from beneficiaries in the previous cut-offs has been very positive – they found the action to be an excellent chance to summarise, reflect on and improve their IP strategy. In general, thanks to the programme they are more aware of their IP situation and view the recommendations in the IP Diagnostic Report as critical for their long-term business strategies: Read some of their success stories

Feedback from beneficiaries shows that:

  • 97% of applicants are interested in additional support;
  • 87% of beneficiary SMEs have a better understanding of their IP and its value than before;
  • 90% consider the IP pre-diagnostic report a useful resource; and
  • 91% would recommend the IP pre-diagnostic to other innovative SMEs.

Information on IP valorisation services

IPA4SME also provides detailed information on the different IP valorisation services that are available, in addition to what actions selected beneficiaries should take to access these services: View the webinars

For more information on IPA4SME and its services, visit ipa4sme.eu. To keep up to date on IPA4SME actions and events, make sure to follow the programme on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook


Feedback open on the roadmap for the Geographical Indication protection at EU level for non-agricultural products

On 30 November 2020, the EU Commission opened a feedback period on the roadmap for the Geographical Indication protection at EU level for non-agricultural products. Feedback will be taken into account for further development and fine tuning of the initiative. The Commission will summarise the input received in a synopsis report explaining how the input will be taken on board and, if applicable, why certain suggestions can't be taken up.

Feedback open on the roadmap for the Geographical Indication protection at EU level for non-agricultural products


Commission publishes a new Action Plan on Intellectual Property

25 November 2020 -  The EU Commission published a new Action Plan on Intellectual Property to help companies, especially small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), to make the most of their inventions and creations and ensure they can benefit our economy and society.

Intellectual property (IP) is a key driver for economic growth as it helps companies to valorise their intangible assets. The Action Plan aims at enabling the European creative and innovative industry to remain a global leader and at speeding up Europe's green and digital transitions. In particular, the Action Plan sets out key steps to improve the protection of IP; to boost the uptake of IP by SMEs; to facilitate the sharing of IP to increase the technological uptake in the industry; to fight counterfeiting and improve the enforcement of IP rights; and to promote a global level playing field. The coronavirus crisis has also highlighted certain dependencies on critical innovation and technologies so the Action Plan addresses these challenges while making sure that critical IP can be made available in time of crisis.

The Action Plan has announced five key areas:

  • Improving the protection of IP
  • Boost the uptake of IP by SMEs
  • Facilitate the sharing of IP
  • Fight counterfeiting and improve enforcement of IP rights
  • Promote a global level playing field

The full action plan ‘Making the most the EU’s innovative potential – An intellectual property action plan to support the EU’s recovery and resilience’ is available here: Action Plan on Intellectual Property


Commission’s evaluation report in relation to EU legislation on Design Protection

The Commission has concluded an evaluation of EU legislation on design protection. The results presented in the evaluation report, published on 6 November 2020, show that EU legislation on designs works well overall and that it is still broadly fit for purpose. However, the evaluation revealed a number of shortcomings that need to be addressed to make the legal framework fit to support the digital and green transition of EU industry, and to become substantially more accessible and efficient for industries, SMEs and individual designers. These shortcomings include in particular a lack of clarity and robustness of certain key elements of design protection (subject matter, scope of rights and limitations), outdated or overly complicated procedures, inappropriate fee levels and fee structure, lack of coherence of the procedural rules and an incomplete single market for spare parts.

The purpose of the evaluation is to analyse to what extent the current EU legislation on design protection has achieved its objectives in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, relevance, coherence and EU added value.  It also provides clear indications of the degree to which that legislation is still considered to be fit for purpose.

The evaluation provides a solid evidence base, allowing to draw conclusions on the impacts of the original objectives and the need for improvements, modernisation and streamlining. Eventually, it may feed into an impact assessment study for a possible amendment of the Directive and the Regulation and/or other targeted initiatives.


Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property Policy

WIPO is leading a Conversation on Intellectual Property (IP) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) bringing together Member States and other stakeholders to discuss the impact of Al on IP, with a view to collectively formulating the questions that policymakers need to ask.

AI has emerged as a general-purpose technology with widespread applications throughout the economy and society and is having a significant impact on the creation, production and distribution of economic and cultural goods and services. The Conversation on AI and IP policy aims to provide a forum to advance the understanding of the IP issues involved.


More notices

Intellectual Property: archived notices