28th April 2023
“Unitary Patent System will offer Irish inventors, entrepreneurs, researchers and businesses a new level of protection and significant cash savings”
Minister of State for Employment Affairs and Retail Business Neale Richmond, yesterday, urged women to use intellectual property rights to protect their brands, technology and creativity. He was speaking to an audience of over 90 people at an Enterprise Ireland Women in Business IP Forum which included representatives from start-ups, SMEs, intellectual property practice and the university research sector.
The event, opened by the Minister, was organised by Enterprise Ireland to coincide with World Intellectual Property Day which falls annually on April 26th. The theme of World IP Day 2023 is “Women and IP: Accelerating innovation and creativity” in recognition of the women that shape the world through their imagination, ingenuity and creativity.
In his opening address, Minister Richmond also spoke about the new Unitary Patent System explaining how it will offer Irish inventors, entrepreneurs, researchers and businesses a new level of protection and significant cash savings.
Minister Richmond emphasised that:
“Setting up a local Unitary Patent Court in Ireland will offer users an accessible cost-effective and more efficient option for broad patent protection and dispute settlement across Europe. Businesses in other participating Member States will have access to their own local Court, and we want to ensure that our companies have that same access here in Ireland.
“That’s why, in June 2022, the Government reaffirmed its commitment to participate in the Unitary Patent System and the Unified Patent Court and to hold a referendum to enable Ireland to do so.
“This will help Irish business, particularly micro and small businesses, increase their European footprint; allowing them to expand their exports to the EU confident in their IP protection.
“Irish participation in the new Unitary Patent System is critical to ensure that the Irish IP regime keeps pace with that of other economies, and our businesses have access to the same support frameworks as their competitors in Europe.”
The timing for this referendum is to be determined by Government.A Constitutional referendum is required to enable the transfer of jurisdictional powers from Irish Courts to the new International Court. Setting up a local court in Ireland will offer users an accessible, cost-effective and more efficient option for broad patent protection and dispute settlement across Europe.
Minister Richmond went on to say:
“A unitary patent covering most of the single market would be of huge value to our innovative SMEs and start-ups with scalable potential. It will also enhance Ireland’s attractiveness for FDI.”
Speaking about the importance of the event, Marina Donohoe Head of Research & Innovation at Enterprise Ireland said:
“Businesses that adopt a broad intellectual property strategy from early on are around 30% more likely to achieve future high growth. Enterprise Ireland is delighted to host this forum to help innovative businesses understand how best to develop an effective IP strategy that will protect their intangible value and position them to raise investment and scale. Female entrepreneurship is a key priority for Enterprise Ireland.
“Today we mark World IP Day and in line with this year’s theme of ‘Women and IP: Accelerating Innovation and Creativity’, we are bringing together some of Ireland’s leading female entrepreneurs to discuss how their IP strategies have positively impacted their business and contributed to their growth and development.”
Notes for editors
The Enterprise Ireland event was organised to coincide with World Intellectual Property Day which falls annually on April 26th. Established by the World intellectual Property Organisation, the day aims to raise awareness of how IP impacts on daily life through the contributions made by creators and innovators to the development of economies and societies across the globe. Last year’s theme was Youth. The theme of World IP Day 2023 is “Women and IP: Accelerating innovation and creativity” in recognition of the women that shape the world through their imagination, ingenuity and creativity.
There are numerous events around the world to mark World IP Day. The Enterprise Ireland Women in Business IP Forum event, was a celebration of the innovative, creative and enterprising women that contribute to Irish economic and societal development. The event included expert IP speaker contributions and a panel of women business leaders who discussed the role of IP in their innovation and entrepreneurship journeys.
The main aim of the event was to raise awareness of the important role Intellectual property plays in innovation led enterprises, with a particular focus in women led businesses. there is evidence that businesses that adopt a broad intellectual property strategy from early on are about 30% more likely to achieve future high growth. This event also highlights how the Enterprise Ireland team, through supports like the Women in Business initiative and the Intellectual Property Strategy scheme, aim to encourage more women to take leading positions in Irish enterprise and to make use of the IP system. Current data show that, despite modest increases, too few women are using the IP system.
It highlighted how both female leadership and IP strategy are correlated with greater business success.
The speakers included;
Maureen Daly, Partner, Beauchamps, LLP
Rena Maycock, Founder and CEO Cilter Ltd and Columnist The Currency
Heidi Davis, Founder and CEO Identifyher Ltd
Mary White, Trademark Attorney and Operations Manager Stobbs Ireland Ltd
Marion Cantillon, Founder and CEO Pitseal Ltd
Marlene Connolly, General Counsel, Chief Legal Officer Nuritas Ltd
Raymond Hegarty, CEO and IP Strategy Coach at Intaval Ltd
Unitary Patent System
The IP system is an integral part of the national innovation ecosystem. At the moment in Ireland, individuals with a new invention or idea, researchers in academia, SMEs and other businesses can apply for an Irish national patent with the Irish Patent Office (IPOI) in Kilkenny which provides protection in Ireland. It is an office of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
However, there is no single European patent valid in all EU Member States. Instead, individual patents must be held in each country where the patent is to be used. This can be expensive and time consuming.
The EU Unified Patent System, which will come fully into force on June 1st is an example of this ongoing evolution of the IP system. The Unitary Patent system will mark the single most important reform in the history of the European patent system since its creation in 1973.
The new system will enable uniform patent protection across all participating EU Member States by way of one single patent application. So companies and inventors will not have to pay for individual patents in each country any more, they can apply for the Unitary Patent and just pay for one.
The new system will also provide a centralised platform for legal cases before the Unified Patent Court. This is why we need a referendum. A local division of the Unified Patent Court will be established in Ireland if the State ratifies by constitutional referendum the international agreement under which the Court is established. Setting up a local court in Ireland will offer users an accessible, cost-effective and more efficient option for broad patent protection and dispute settlement across Europe. A date for the referendum is to be decided by the Government.
17 Member States have ratified the Agreement. More countries are expected to join in the future. The remaining Member States that have signed up but have yet to ratify are Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Romania, and Slovakia.
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