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An Innovative Ireland

According to the recent annual report from the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland (IPOI), 2020 proved to be an excellent year for Ireland’s innovators.

There was an increase of over 34% year on year in Irish national patent filings compared to 2019, with short term parent applications, similar to a utility model, up 31% and long term patent applications up by 38%.  Ireland also had a strong representation of patent applications filed before the EPO by Irish resident companies, increasing by 10% to 970, placing Ireland 10th in the number of European patent applications filed per capita.

Medical technology (+8.6%) and pharmaceuticals (+42%) were the major growth areas in European patent filings by Irish resident applicants, with computer technology holding steady, and a small decrease in biotech applications (-4.9%). However, there was a significant drop-off in electrical machinery (-28.2%).

It should be no surprise that a significant portion of this increase in patent filing was from inventions related to the Covid pandemic. This was due to Ireland’s position as one of the top five global MedTech hubs and exporters of COVID-19 related trade, with inventions related to pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment, medical devices and sanitising products, all showing good growth.  The maintenance of computer technology patent applications, in the face of an economic global downturn, indicates how Ireland’s innovators pivoted to meet the challenges of, for example, contact tracing and social distance monitoring.

European patent applications from Irish proprietors increased by 10% year on year, bucking the trend when compared to the likes of the UK, France and Germany – all of whom showed decreases.  Indeed, in the 2020 WIPO Global Innovation Index (GII) ranking of world economies according to their innovation capabilities, Ireland ranks an impressive 15th amongst the 131 economies studied.

In other positive news, National Irish trademark filings increased by approximately 3.5% in 2020 with European Community Trademark filings, having Irish applicants, increasing by 14% and Madrid Protocol trademark filings, having Irish applicants, increasing by an impressive 43% year on year.  The Madrid Protocol filings in particular show the intent of Irish companies to break into new, overseas markets for new and existing clients and products.

Finally, applications for both national and European Community Design registrations, from Irish applicants, increased dramatically in 2020, up 36% and 40% respectively.

There is no doubt that Ireland’s innovation community continues to impress and are proactively supported by both the private and public sector, making sure Ireland remains at the top table of the world’s leading innovative nations.

Overall, it is clear that Irish companies showed great resiliency in the face of a challenging global downturn and continue to plan and innovate for growth in the future, post-pandemic world.

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