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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

Launch of European Commission Public Consultation on the Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List

December 2021

The European Commission has launched a public consultation aimed at identifying online service providers and physical marketplaces located outside the EU suspected of engaging in, facilitating or benefitting from substantial IPR infringements, with priority given to piracy and counterfeiting.

Stakeholders are being asked to submit written contributions to the Commission identifying marketplaces and service providers that may fulfil the criteria, for inclusion in the Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List for 2022. Online marketplace operators and service providers are encouraged to report on measures taken to avoid or reduce IPR infringements by third parties on their services and to submit written contributions in which they present actions taken to address IP infringements on their platforms.

The updated “Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List” will be published towards the end of 2022. It aims to identify the most problematic marketplaces and service providers with a view to encouraging operators and owners, local authorities and governments to take the necessary actions to reduce the availability of IPR infringing goods and services.

The consultation is available at: Public Consultation on the Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List (europa.eu)

Written contributions and comments can also be made directly to the European Commission via mailbox TRADE-COUNTERFEIT-AND-PIRACY-WATCH-LIST@ec.europa.eu

The deadline for submissions is 14 February 2022.


European Union (Copyright and Related Rights in the Digital Single Market) Regulations 2021 (SI No 567 of 2021)

November 2021

These Regulations, made pursuant to the European Communities Act 1972, transpose Directive 2019/790/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2019. These Regulations also further amend the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 (as amended).

These regulations provide a framework for a more modern copyright legislation that will strengthen the rights and protections afforded to various categories of rightsholders. The provisions reflect technological advances and increased digitisation and provide for wider access and use of copyright protected works to the potential benefit of the creative sectors, press publishers, researchers, educators, cultural heritage institutions, and citizens.

Irish Statute Book: SI No 567 of 2021 - European Union (Copyright and Related Rights in the Digital Single Market) Regulations 2021

Launch of WIPO’s IP Diagnostics Resource

September 2021

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has launched a free, comprehensive self-assessment IP Diagnostics tool designed to help small businesses identify their IP assets and determine how to protect, manage and leverage these assets to unlock new commercial opportunities. The questionnaire style assessment allows users to learn the basics of IP by reviewing their own business activities and assets. On completion of the assessment, users will receive a customised report that can be used to begin developing an IP strategy.  

WIPO IP Diagnostics is a useful tool for small businesses to become acquainted with the practical advantages of the IP system. It can also function as a useful resource for business intermediaries who may rely on it to complement their IP advisory services for businesses.

For more information please visit WIPO IP Diagnostics.

World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Survey on Intellectual Property Support Services to SMEs

6 September 2021

Intellectual Property and Innovation Ecosystem Sector (IES) of WIPO is inviting organisations in Member States acting as intermediaries to SMEs to complete a short online survey on the nature and extent of intellectual property (IP) support services provided by them to businesses and SMEs in particular. Such organisations include government institutions that support SMEs, business associations, chambers of commerce, business support organizations, incubators, technology parks, accelerators, innovation agencies, export development agencies, organizations that support start-ups.

The information collected will be made publicly available in a database which will enable local SMEs to identify sources of support.

The survey is accessible on the WIPO website: Survey on Intellectual Property Support Services to SMEs

EU Directive 2019/790 – Copyright and Related Rights in the Digital Single Market  Information Note for copyright stakeholders and other interested parties

25 May 2021

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has produced this Information Note to offer additional clarity on its approach to the transposition of EU Directive on Copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market (EU) 2019/790.

EU Directive 2019/790 – Copyright and Related Rights in the Digital Single Market – Information Note

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