Enterprise Ireland - The Intellectual Property Assistance Scheme
Enterprise Ireland has been providing support on intellectual property to inventors and SMEs through the Intellectual Property Assistance Scheme since 19981. The main activities of the scheme may be summarized as follows:
- Advice on the protection of inventions
- Funding for patent applications
- Advice on the development and commercialization of inventions
The Application Procedure
Enterprises, inventors or research institutes wishing to obtain support and advice from the Intellectual Property Assistance Scheme must apply to the scheme explaining the nature of the invention, plans for development and, in the case of enterprises, a business plan. General advice can be given to all enquirers. Detailed advice and patent funding, however, can only be provided for indigenous Irish companies engaged in manufacturing or internationally traded services or for projects with the potential to lead to the setting up of such companies. Enterprise Ireland assesses the invention and where it is felt that the invention has potential, provides the applicant with initial advice and a suggested course of action for its development, protection and commercialization.
Advice on the Protection of Inventions
Enterprise Ireland generally prefers if applicants have not filed a patent application prior to applying for support from the IP Assistance Scheme. This is in order to ascertain that the timing of the patent application is right and that the patent application process is synchronized with the technological and commercial development of the invention. While the scheme does not provide legal advice, and candidates are advised to contact a patent attorney for this purpose, it does provide tips on where to obtain the needed information, assists in patent searches, and provides other advice on patenting procedures and technical issues relating to the invention.
Funding for Patents
Where Enterprise Ireland is satisfied that worthwhile patent protection is likely to be obtained and detailed satisfactory manufacturing and marketing plans have been submitted, or are in an advanced stage, it provides funding for patenting in Ireland and in appropriate foreign countries. Financial support can be as high as 100% of the patenting process initially, but will decrease as the project proceeds. Where support beyond the initial stages is given, it is provided subject to agreement with the inventor or company for division of royalties or income resulting from sales of the patented product or process. Enterprise Ireland's share of royalties is usually small and is agreed on an individual basis.
Advice on the Development and Commercialization of Inventions
The staffs of the Intellectual Property Unit who operate the Assistance Scheme all have technical backgrounds and qualifications up to professional level. Advice on the technical development of an invention is provided and on occasions applicants may be referred to other technical specialists within other departments of Enterprise Ireland. Advice on commercialization is also an important part of the scheme. Inventors can be assisted in identifying potential licensees for the inventions and by providing advice on negotiations and the licensing process.
The Intellectual Property Assistance Scheme in Numbers
On average, Enterprise Ireland receives 150-200 applications every year. All applicants receive some advice, while approximately 50% obtain detailed advice on patenting and technical and commercial development. Approximately 5-10 new projects obtain patent funding every year.
For more information on the Intellectual Property Assistance Scheme, please contact any of the following: