What We Do

Enforcement of intellectual property rights

Intellectual property rights (IPR) protect an undertaking's intangible assets, allowing them to profit from their creative and innovative activities. Ireland has in place a strong legal framework and intellectual property (IP) regime that provides an incentive to invest in the provision of goods and services that result from investment in innovation, design and creativity.

The legal framework for intellectual property rights protection enables enforcement action to be taken, against infringers and counterfeiters who may attempt to take the intellectual creations of others without permission. It is important therefore that the enforcement agencies of the State work together in the fight against intellectual property theft, illegal copying of works and so on.

So why enforce your IP rights?                                   

One of the main objectives of acquiring IP protection is to ensure that the upfront investment in creating the IP will lead to economic reward which tends to give rise to greater levels of innovation. Where individuals and organisations find that others are unlawfully using their IPR, this is referred to as infringement of IP rights. This would include for instance unauthorised manufacturing of a patented technology; or the sale of a similar type of good bearing someone else’s trade mark (counterfeit product); or the distribution of music without the copyright owner’s consent (pirated goods).      

Enforcement of IPRs is essential in order to preserve the legal validity of your IP rights, prevent infringement in order to avoid wholesale damage to you and your goods/service including loss of the goodwill and reputation and, to seek compensation for actual damage caused.

Enforcement agencies

The Revenue Commissioners is empowered to take action against infringements of intellectual property rights at points of importation into the State. Revenue is also responsible for liaison and intelligence sharing, with other enforcement agencies, and in particular the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation in An Garda Síochána. An Garda Síochána has a dedicated Anti-Racketeering Unit that deals also with the protection of intellectual property rights within the State such as in the case of illicit pirated and counterfeit goods. 

Related websites

European Observatory on Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights

World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

An Garda Síochána

The high cost of intellectual property infringement in sports

The EUIPO has launched a campaign which will focus on sports and more specifically on the negative effects of counterfeiting and piracy on the viability of sports and the sport sector:

Foul play: The high cost of IP infringement in sports - EUIPO

European Commission recommends actions to combat counterfeiting and better protect intellectual property rights

The European Commission has adopted the Recommendation to combat counterfeiting and enhance the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRs).

The Recommendation provides EU stakeholders and Member States with a toolbox to strengthen the EU’s capacity to protect the single market from counterfeiting and piracy. It aims to foster collaboration between rightsholders, intermediaries, and competent authorities in the Member States, while encouraging best practices and the use of modern tools and technologies. It consists of strategic initiatives to combat counterfeiting and strengthen the enforcement of IPRs, setting out dedicated tools to increase SME resilience and ability to better protect their intangible assets, including against cyber-theft.


Stepping up the fight against counterfeiting

Further information

Commission recommends actions to combat counterfeiting and better protect intellectual property rights

Economic impact of counterfeiting in the clothing, cosmetics, and toy sectors in the EU

The European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights (the Observatory) has published a study on the economic impact of counterfeiting in the clothing, cosmetics, and toy sectors in the EU. The study assesses the economic impact of counterfeiting in sales and employment in three sectors; clothing including footwear, cosmetics and toys. 

The main findings of the study: 

  • the legitimate clothing industry lost almost €12 billion of revenue as an annual average in 2018-2021, representing 5.2% of clothing sales in the EU
  • as a consequence of sales lost due to counterfeiting, the clothing industry employed 160,000 fewer people each year in the same period
  • the estimated lost cosmetics sales due to counterfeiting amount to €3 billion, corresponding to 4.8% of total sales
  • the lost employment in the EU cosmetics industry is estimated at almost 32,000 people
  • the toy sector suffers the highest ratio of sales lost due to counterfeiting: 8.7 %, corresponding to €1 billion
  • the toy sector employed 3,600 fewer people due to counterfeiting

The full report is available at Economic impact of counterfeiting in the clothing, cosmetics, and toy sectors in the EU.

European Commission report on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries (2023)

As part of the European Commission to strengthen the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries, a report is published biennially since 2006.

The report identifies countries outside the EU in which the state of IP protection and enforcement gives rise to concern and gives an update on the Commission’s existing list of priority countries. China remains the top priority country, as was the case in previous editions of the report. Other priority countries include Argentina, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Türkiye.

The report aims to improve IP rights protection and enforcement worldwide. It’s goal is to inform rights holders, including small and medium-sized enterprises, of the potential risks when conducting business in certain countries.  Furthermore, the report includes details on the EU’s various IP activities – including EU-funded programmes.

European Commission Report on Intellectual Property Rights in Third Countries

EU Agorateka initiative 

Agorateka (derived from the Greek words Agora which refers to a market place while Tèka refers to a library) is an initiative of the EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office) to promote legal sourcing of various copyrighted content.

Ireland joins EU Agorateka Initiative