My Department is currently engaged with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel on the drafting of an Intellectual Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013 which propose amendments to both the Patents Act 1992 and the Trade Marks Act 1996. It is intended to expand the current research exemption under the Patents Act 1992 to include a wider range of activities in the nature of studies, tests and trials etc. and the consequential practical requirements necessary for the purpose of obtaining marketing authorisation for medicinal or veterinary products. This expanded exemption will cover acts done in this country relating to the acquisition of a marketing authorisation in a non-EEA country. These amendments will bring Ireland’s research exemption into line with other competitor countries for investment by pharmaceutical companies.
The proposed amendment to the Trade Marks Act is designed to resolve a technical conflict between the Trade Marks Act and the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trade Marks which needs to be reconciled before Ireland can accede to the Singapore Treaty. Accession to the Treaty would reinforce Ireland’s participation in the Trade Mark Law Treaty of 1994 and enable Ireland to participate in the future direction of the administration of trade mark law at international level. Moreover, following the publication last month of the report of the independent Copyright Review Committee, Modernising Copyright, my Department is currently considering and evaluating the recommendations contained in the Report. I expect, upon completion of this evaluation, to be in a position to bring the results of our examination to Government with recommendations, including in relation to proposed legislative amendments, with a view to stimulating innovation and to ensure that Ireland is well positioned to meet the needs of the digital age.
In order to deliver on a commitment in the Programme for Government which was further articulated in the Action Plan for Jobs 2012, my Department commissioned a Feasibility Study to examine what structures and policies could be developed to make Ireland a world centre for managing and trading in intellectual property. The objectives of the study were to identify and describe the emerging trends in IP Portfolio Management in corporations globally; and taking account of such global emerging trends, to identify options and models for Ireland to leverage its existing strengths to become an internationally attractive centre for managing and trading in IP, such that this could realise an economic and jobs potential.
The Study, which was undertaken by Deloitte, is now being considered by officials in my Department in the context of wider policy developments and economic conditions domestically and globally.