Cloud Computing: The delivery of computing
services from remote locations to a web browser has received a lot of attention
in recent years and in Ireland it has been hyped as the next IFSC (a
reference to Dublin's International Financial Services Centre). However new
research on worldwide patenting activity by Irish resident applicants and
inventors, shows an industry dominated by international firms with a relatively
weak and uncompetitive indigenous Irish cloud computing sector.
adoption by end users in Ireland, last April the new
Microsoft / Amárach Cloud Index, which is designed to measure progress
toward adoption of cloud computing by tracking actual adoption in Ireland by
organisations across the public and private sectors, showed that the index was
at 3.2 out of 10. This was based on the mean score for all responses to a
question specifically on adoption of cloud computing.
Research by New Morning
IP, a Dublin-based intellectual property consultancy, was based on searching the full text of the main
English language patent authority databases, and title, abstract and claims of
other language databases including the German, Japanese, Chinese and Korean
databases. The search took place in early June 2012 and after elimination of
patent family duplicates (number of patent families is a good proxy for number
of distinct inventions filed) yielded 28,167 published patent application or
granted patent records relating to cloud computing.
New Morning IP says that of the 91 published inventions by Irish
resident applicants, only 46 have named one or more Irish-resident inventors.
This indicates that half of inventions filed by Irish resident applicants were
in fact invented outside of Ireland.
The consultants say that the distribution shows
that filing of cloud computing patent families by Irish resident applicants is
dominated by three global companies; Accenture and Skype (acquired by Microsoft
in 2011), and Business Objects Software (acquired by SAP AG in 2007). They
collectively account for almost half of the total. Many of these publications
lack Irish resident inventors indicating that the Irish company is acting as a
holding company for all or a portion of the wider group’s patents.
New Morning IP says: "Our analysis shows
that while Ireland is an attractive location for multinational companies to
develop and hold cloud computing patents, indigenous
Irish companies do not seem to have adopted strategies to build globally
significant patent positions to protect their technologies from being copied and
to use as collateral should they become large enough to be targets for patent
In our view the relative strength of the foreign
direct investment sector should be used as a lever to incentivise and facilitate
the creation of cloud computing patents by Irish companies and third level
Cloud Computing: The Irish Perspective
While patents do not imply potential for commercialisation; the software patent
system is in flux and patent quality has deteriorated in recent decades
according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development,
nevertheless, the low level of patents granted to indigenous firms and research
institutions, is a serious issue.
Cloud computing has been highlighted as a
priority for the Government and the total public science budget in 2011 was
The green energy boomlet has already stalled in
the US and Germany in the face of Chinese competition. This sector was also a
fertile one in Ireland for large jobs estimates decades ahead.
However, cloudy aspirations eventually lose
Finfacts Jan 2011:Cloud computing industry can be the next IFSC in Ireland says
report; Hype or substance?
Finfacts Apr 2011:Cloud Computing and the Irish Economy: A clouded issue?
Check out our new
subscription service, Finfacts Premium
, at a low annual charge of €25 - - if
you are a regular user of Finfacts, 50 euro cent a week is hardly a huge ask to
support the service.
It's a simple fact that in the
prevailing economic climate, the provision of high quality content cannot be
sustained through advertising alone.
Business executives who put a
premium on time and value high quality information, should use our service.