New Route To Obtaining an Irish Patent
Ireland is home to over 1000 multinational companies, many of whom have chosen to make Ireland their hub of European Operations; examples include Google, HP, Apple, IBM, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pfizer, GSK and Genzyme. Ireland is also home to a thriving MedTech sector, hosting 18 of the world’s top 25 MedTech firms and exporting over €12 billion of medical products every year. Since Brexit, Ireland is the only English-speaking country in the EU, further enhancing the country as a strategic headquarters for international ICT, Pharma and MedTech.
Obtaining patent protection covering Ireland has never been so important.
But how can you obtain an Irish Patent?
Until recently, Irish Patents could not be filed via the PCT (International) Patent system, and could only be pursued as a “convention” application or by obtaining a granted European or Euro-PCT Patent that was validated in Ireland. This situation was not ideal, as European Patents can take a long time to grant and often get bogged down in EPO opposition proceedings, pending which many Courts in EP States would stay proceedings for infringement.
This situation has now changed and since 2020 it is possible to convert PCT Patent Applications into the National Phase in Ireland within 31 months from the priority date. Examination of the Irish Application is based on an evidence of novelty system (for example, a search report from the EPO or UKIPO, or a granted UK, EP or US Patent, may be used as evidence of novelty). The procedure is efficient, with examination being completed and a patent granted usually within 12-18 months of entering the National Phase in Ireland. Once granted, Irish Patents can be enforced by the Commercial Division of the Irish High Court.
While companies will continue to file European Patent Applications covering EEA states including Ireland, obtaining patent protection in Ireland via the PCT route is now an attractive option, as it is faster than the Euro-PCT-route and provides a granted right that may be enforced within 12-18 months of national phase entry.
For further information on PCT National Phase filings in Ireland, please contact Barry Purdy