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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

European Commission public consultation on compulsory licensing of intellectual property rights

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on compulsory licensing of intellectual property rights.

Compulsory licensing allows a government to authorise the use of a patented product without the consent of the patent holder in specific circumstances. Currently, legislation on compulsory licensing of patents is fragmented; EU countries regulate their own compulsory licensing schemes which can result in legal uncertainty for both right holders and users of intellectual property rights. As highlighted in the call for evidence published in April, compulsory licensing has a role to play in tackling crises as it can help provide access to key products and technologies.

The European Commission invites interested parties to express their views on how to build a more efficient and coordinated compulsory licensing scheme in the EU, to improve harmonization at EU level and improve Europe’s resilience in managing crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The consultation is available at Intellectual property – revised framework for compulsory licensing of patents (europa.eu).

The deadline for submissions is 28 September 2022.

Public consultation on proposal for a regulation on geographical indication protection for craft and industrial products and amending Regulations (EU) 2017/1001 and (EU) 2019/1753 and Council Decision (EU) 2019/1754

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment is seeking the views of stakeholders and interested parties on the proposal for a regulation on geographical indication protection for craft and industrial products, published by the European Commission on 13 April 2022.

Public consultation on proposal for a regulation on geographical indication protection for craft and industrial products

EUIPO Observatory launch Pan-European Media Awareness Campaign – June 2022

To coincide with World Anti-Counterfeiting Day on 8 June, the EUIPO Observatory has launched its annual Pan-European media awareness campaign. The campaign will run in tandem with the publication of the latest 2022 update of the IP Youth Scoreboard, which provides an update on IP infringement behaviours of 15-24 year olds across the EU.  

Information on the campaign and all supporting material is available on the Observatory website: IP Youth scoreboard (europa.eu)

European Commission (DG Trade) public consultation on intellectual property protection and enforcement in third countries

The European Commission (DG Trade) has launched a public consultation on intellectual property protection and enforcement in third countries. The consultation aims to identify third countries for which IPR protection and enforcement is a cause for concern, as well as to update the European Commission’s list of ‘priority countries’. The results of this consultation will also enable rights holders to gain awareness of potential risks to their IP when engaging in business activities in the priority countries and thus allow them to design business strategies and operations to protect their IP rights.

Contributions to this consultation are open until 12 August 2022 at State of intellectual property in third countries (europa.eu).

Geographical indications for craft and industrial products

The European Commission’s proposal for a Regulation on Geographical Indications for craft and industrial products was adopted on 13 April 2022.

The proposed Regulation proposes the establishment of a EU-wide protection framework for geographical indications of craft and industrial products to offer protection to products such as Murano glass, Donegal tweed, Porcelaine de Limoges, Solingen cutlery and Boleslawiec pottery. The proposal aims to enable producers to protect craft and industrial products and their traditional know-how in Europe and beyond. The goal is to make it easier for consumers to recognise the quality of such products and make more informed choices. The proposal also aims to help to promote, attract and retain skills and jobs in Europe’s regions, contributing to their economic development and to ensure that traditional craft and industrial products are finally put on an equal footing with protected geographical indications that already exist in the agricultural area. 

For more information, visit Geographical indications for craft and industrial products (europa.eu).

EU measures to safeguard protection of intellectual property in Ukraine

The European Commission and the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) worked together to define a first set of measures to safeguard protection of intellectual property in Ukraine. In agreement with the Commission, the EUIPO has adopted the following measures: the EUIPO will safeguard Ukrainian intellectual property rights in the European Union by providing full support to Ukrainian customers while the current situation prevents normal communication. Also, the EUIPO will suspend all technical cooperation with the Russian and Belorussian intellectual property offices, including the Eurasian Patent Organisation (EAPO). Finally, EUIPO will ensure that intellectual property rights originating from Crimea are not falsely registered as coming from Russia. 

EUIPO statement on Ukraine (9 March 2022): EUIPO statement on Ukraine (europa.eu)

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