PLC Multi-Jurisdictional Guide – IP in Business Transactions, Ireland Chapter 2014


Author: Rob Corbet, John Menton, Colin Rooney, Fintan Clancy, Pat O’Brien, Olivia Mulloolly and Aisling Burke

The PLC Multi-Jurisdictional Guide 2014 – IP in Business Transactions (Irish Chapter) provides practical information on issues in an easy-to-read “question and answer” format.

IP in Business Transactions: Ireland Overview

 What are the main IPRs in your jurisdiction? How are they protected?
Full-term patents

A patent grants its owner exclusive rights for a patentable invention. To be patentable an invention must be (section 9(1), Patents Act 1992 (Patents Act)) all of the following:

  • Susceptible of industrial application.
  • New.
  • Involve an inventive step.

To register a patent in Ireland an application must be filed either at the Irish Patents Office (Patents Office) or at the European Patent Office with an Irish designation.

Full-term patents provide protection for up to 20 years. The applicant must provide evidence of the invention’s novelty, for example, by requesting a Search Report from the Patents Office.

Short-term patents

Short-term patents are granted by the Patents Office for a ten-year period. The applicant does not need to provide evidence of the invention’s novelty. These short-term patents protect inventions that either:

  • Are not technologically complex.
  • Have a shorter market life.

If applications are made for both a short-term patent and a full­ term patent for the same invention, the short -term patent becomes void once the full-term patent is granted.

Trade marks

To qualify for protection a mark must (sections 6 and 8, Trade Marks Act 1996(Trade Marks Act)):

  • Be capable of being represented graphically.
  • Be capable of distinguishing goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings.
  • Not fall within any of the absolute or relative grounds for refusal to register a trade mark.

Registered trademarks. An application for registration of a trade mark is made to the Controller of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (Controller).

Unregistered trademarks. In addition to rights for registered trademarks, passing-off protects goodwill built up in an unregistered trade mark. Passing-off is a tort actionable at common law. 

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This article was first published in the PLC Multi-Jurisdictional Guide 2014 – IP in Business Transactions and is reproduced with the kind permission of the publisher, Practical Law Company.

For further information, please contact Rob Corbet, John Menton, Colin Rooney, Fintan Clancy, Pat O’Brien, Olivia Mullooly or Aisling Burke.

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