Obtaining Patent Protection Abroad

An Irish patent can stop others making, selling or using your invention but, because patents are territorial in effect, an Irish patent is only valid in Ireland (Republic of Ireland only) and does not afford the holder protection elsewhere.

If you intend to sell or license your invention outside of Ireland, you should consider protecting it abroad. If you don’t, you will be unable to defend your invention as anyone can legally make, use or sell it overseas. Obtaining patent protection outside of Ireland will allow you to defend your position and market share in case of infringement.

If patent protection is required beyond the Irish jurisdiction, the following options are available:

  • Application under the European Patent Convention

To protect your patent in up to 38 European countries, you can apply under the European Patent Convention (EPC).

You can file your application with us or directly to the European Patent Office (EPO).  Your application for a European Patent will be processed as a single application, but once granted it becomes separate patents in the countries you designate.

Protection can be sought internationally using the  Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT). You can file your PCT application through the Irish Intellectual Property Office of Ireland, or directly to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

An application filed through the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland (Receiving Office) allows for the application to be checked and forwarded to WIPO. While the application can be submitted on paper, it is now possible to file such applications electronically (ePCT) at http://pct.wipo.int/ePCT

It should be noted that the international filing fee is reduced by approximately €200 if the application is filed in electronic form.  Such fees are payable to the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland.

You can get protection in individual countries in Europe by applying to the national office of each country. This is advisable if you only want protection in a few countries. You should get advice from the national patent office of any country you want protection in. 

The Innovaccess website provides access to general information on IP issues, including application/grant/registration procedures and costs, in EU member states. 

You may have to file translations of your patent application in order to obtain patent protection in certain countries.

You can claim priority from an existing patent application if you apply abroad within 12 months of your original application. Your later application will be treated as if you applied on the same date as the original application.

Applying for a patent can be a complex process and we recommend that you seek the assistance of a patent attorney before doing so.