The Irish Patents Office has recently published its Annual Report for 2014 setting out trends, objectivities, activities throughout 2014 and what can be expected in 2015. The Annual Report sets out how the Irish Patent Office has discharged of its statutory functions under the Patents Act 1992 (as amended), the Trade Marks Acts 1996 (as amended), the Industrial Designs Act 2001 and the various statutory rules and regulations made under these Acts. A summary of the key findings are set out below.

Patent and SPC Update

  • Ireland's high levels of innovation largely reflects the presence of high-tech multinational firms and is not necessarily supported by high levels of patent filings
  • Filings abroad by Irish resident applicants increased with many Irish-based foreign firms have a policy of filing applications through their parent HQs
  • National full term patent filings received during 2014 were down 12.5% from 2013. Short term patent applications were down 20% - indication that applicants are making their patent applications through Europe rather than through the national office
  • Applications for Supplementary Protection Certificates were up 19% from 2013
  •  Ireland is now one of Europe's leading locations for the pharmaceutical industry – pharma exports worth in the region of €40 billion
  • The majority of classifications granted by the Irish Patents Office related to human necessities (24%), performing operations (15%) and fixed constructions (15%).

Trade Mark and Design Update

  • Applications for the registration of industrial designs have been low since 2003 when the Community Design registration system came into being – decreased 10% from 2013
  • National trademark applications received in 2014 were up 7% from 2013

Legislative Update

The Irish Patents Office also has an ongoing commitment to "contribute to the drafting and subsequent implementation of any new IP legislation which creates functions for the Controller". The Annual Report set out a full list of legislative areas where they provided input and observation during 2014. These included theIntellectual Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014 which seeks to broaden the scope of the "Bolar" type research exemption, the amendment of Sections 29(3) and 29(4) of the Trade Marks Act 1996 giving effect to the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks and European Union (Certain Permitted Uses of Orphan Works) Regulations 2014 which transpose the Orphan Works Directive 2012/28/EU.

Coming up in 2015

  • E-filing of designs – online service for filing of industrial designs similar to that in place for trade marks
  • E-services – Online payment of all fees with all patents fees to be included
  • Federated Register – provides information on the status of all payments (in the EU and member states)
  • Upgrade of web servers and websites – replacement of obsolete operating systems, implementation of new content management systems and redesign of the Irish Patents Office website