The Irish Patents Office (the “Office”) recently released its Annual Report for 2014 (the “Report”). Outlined below are some of the key observations from the Report.

TRENDS

Patents

  • PCT filings and European filings abroad by Irish residents continued to increase;
  • National patent filings deceased by 12.5% (in the case of full term patents) and 20% in the case of short term patents;
  • The ratio of short term patent filings to full term patent filings is nearly 2:1;
  • Applications for Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs) increased by 19%;
  • There is a continued decline in national patent renewals;
  • 118 national full term patent applications were received in 2014 with 79 full term patents being granted during 2014;
  • 203 short term patent applications were received in 2014 with 69 short term patents being granted during 2014.
  • No patents were revoked by the Office in 2014. 10 patents were restored/reinstated to the Register.

Trade Marks

  • National trade mark applications increased by 7% following a downward trend for a number of years;
  • International trade mark applications by Irish residents increased by 9%;
  • International applications seeking protection in Ireland deceased by 26% - this appears to be due to applicants designating the EU in their international applications;
  • By the end of 2014 80% of all of the trade mark applications were received electronically by the Office;
  • There is a continued decline in national trade mark renewals;
  • 5 national trade marks were revoked in full or part during 2014. No national trade marks were declared invalid by the Office. 19 trade marks were restored to the Register.

Designs

  • National design application filings continued to decrease with only 54 applications being filed in 2014.

OBJECTIVES FOR THE YEAR AHEAD

E-filing

  • Design e-filing in the Office scheduled to go live in mid May 2015;
  • The Office hopes to implement e-filing of patent applications in 2016.

Patent Specification documents

  • A project to scan all patent application specification documents (which are available) from the 1960s to the early 2000s and make them available on the Office’s website is continuing. Over 18,800 of 58,000 documents have been scanned to date.

Online Payments

  • Expansion of the range of trade mark and design fees which can be paid online is expected to be completed in 2015.

LEGISLATIVE CHANGES IN 2014

  • Intellectual Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014 (Act No. 36 of 2014)

This Act amended the Patents Act 1992 and Trade Marks Act 1996. For analysis of these legislative changes please see an article we published earlier this year on the topic - http://www.williamfry.com/newsandinsights/publications-article/2015/01/08/new-year-new-laws-bolar-exemption-to-patent-infringement-expanded

  • The European Union (Certain Permitted Uses of Orphan Works) Regulations 2014 (Directive 2012/28/EU) S.I. 490 of 2014

These Regulations apply to educational establishments, publicly accessible libraries, museums, archives, film or audio heritage institution and public service broadcasters. Such bodies can now make available and reproduce (for the purpose of digitisation, making available, indexing, cataloguing, preservation or restoration) certain works that are considered orphan works without infringing the copyright. Orphan works are works where the owner cannot be identified or located.