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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 etc.

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 are 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 have 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

EUIPO Observatory’s Anti-Counterfeiting Technology Guide

The EUIPO Observatory launched a document called the Anti-Counterfeiting Technology Guide (PDF, 6.4MB) in February 2021 to address the issue that counterfeiting poses to supply chains and the lack of information on anti-counterfeiting solutions. 

This guide is intended for all traders and enterprises (including small and medium-sized enterprises) interested in gaining knowledge and building an anti-counterfeiting strategy based on their specific business needs. The anti-counterfeiting technologies are presented in five main categories: electronic; marking; chemical and physical; mechanical; and technologies for digital media. 

The guide also includes information on complementary technologies and ISO standards that can be applied alongside anti-counterfeiting technologies to increase the effectiveness of overall strategies and solutions. 

European Citizens and Intellectual Property: Perception, Awareness and Behaviour 2020

The European Union Intellectual Property Office has published its IP Perception Study 2020.

This updated major study of how IP rights are perceived by EU citizens is a unique roadmap for all the EU countries when it comes to counterfeiting and piracy attitudes and behaviours. The study shows a gradual but encouraging change in understanding and attitudes, following the previous surveys by the EUIPO in 2013 and 2017.

As in the previous editions, this EU-wide study confirms that the vast majority of citizens agree that it is important that those who invest time and money in innovation have their rights protected.

It is shown that those surveyed are gradually saying that they have a better understanding of IP rights, which is an important finding, given the evidence that those who understand these rights are less likely to deliberately infringe them.