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?
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.
- 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 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.
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.Download PDF