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Ireland is part of the European Union and is a signatory of the European Patent Convention.

Current issues

The Taoiseach Brian Cowen launched an Innovation Taskforce in mid-2009. It's reasonable to guess that this report will make comments about the scope of patenting and the effects of patents on the software industry. Being made up mostly of decision makers in universities[1] (a group which is currently under huge pressure to be profitable), there is a risk that royalties and appeasing Microsoft and IBM might be valued above freedom, innovation, or the economy as a whole. Of course, if people inform the taskforce of these problems, it's possible that they will recommend sensible anti-swpat policies, like the Gowers Review did in the UK in 2006.

Being part of the EU, Ireland is subject to all European-level problems.

The report was published in March 2010 but for some reason is no longer available on the Irish Government website. A copy can be found here Innovation Ireland - Report of the Innovation Taskforce. Blog post on a guide to the report A Guide to the Innovation Taskforce Report.


Legislation in Ireland is officially published in English, or sometimes in Irish and English.

Patents Act 1992

See: Patents Act 1992

Most relevant is Chapter II: Patentability[1], which says:

Quoted text

9.—(1) An invention shall be patentable under this Part if it is susceptible of industrial application, is new and involves an inventive step.
(2) Any of the following in particular shall not be regarded as an invention within the meaning of subsection (1):
(a) a discovery, a scientific theory or a mathematical method,
(b) an aesthetic creation,
(c) a scheme, rule or method for performing a mental act, playing a game or doing business, or a program for a computer,
(d) the presentation of information.
(3) The provisions of subsection (2) shall exclude patentability of subject-matter or activities referred to in that subsection only to the extent to which a patent application or patent relates to such subject-matter or activities as such.


This text is substantially identical or almost identical to Art. 52 of the European Patent Convention. The differences are only in the order of the words or the stylistic choice of singular or plural for nouns.

2006 amendments

See: Patents (Amendment) Act 2006

Most relevant part:

3.— Section 9 of the Principal Act is amended—
(a) in subsection (1), by inserting “, in all fields of technology,” after “An invention”, and
(b) by deleting subsections (4) and (5).

The Irish Patents Office website has a section of Excluded Subject Matter which includes reference to software. It links to a European Patents Office (pdf) publication on Patents for software?

Related pages on ESP Wiki

External links