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 new in intellectual property

Public consultation on the protection of geographical indications for craft and industrial products 

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment is seeking the views of interested parties and stakeholders on the implementation of the regulation on geographical indication protection for craft and industrial products.

The regulation entered into force on 16 November 2023 and Ireland has two years to implement the regulation and put in place a legal framework for geographical indication (GI) protection for craft and industrial products.

Have your say: Public consultation on the implementation of Regulation (EU) 2023/2411 on the protection of geographical indications for craft and industrial products