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News : Innovation Last Updated: Mar 23, 2015 - 4:14 AM

Irish Patents Office applications in 2012 fell to 30-year low
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
Jul 18, 2013 - 4:16 PM

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Applications for patents from Irish resident companies (whether foreign-owned or indigenous), Irish institutions such as universities and resident individuals fell again in 2012 and were at the lowest level since 1982 -- 30 years ago.

This bad news appears in the 2012 annual report of the office, that was published late last month. It was effectively buried, which must reflect the wishes of Richard Bruton, minister for enterprise jobs and innovation, and  Seán Sherlock, who is junior minister for research and innovation. The Irish Times which has a science editor, gave the issue no coverage.

There were 492 resident applications in 2012 down from 494 in 2011 and the lowest level since 434 applications were filed in 1982, according to World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) data.

The high point of resident application filings was in 2001 at 1,019 and in 2006 when the national strategy for science was published and the goal to be recognised as a 'world class knowledge economy' by 2013 was set, the number was 838. It was 939 in 2009.

PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) patents makes it possible to seek patent protection for an invention simultaneously in each of a large number of countries by filing a single "international" patent application.

PCT applications from Irish residents fell from 428 in 2006 to 415 in 2011 and 390 in 2012.

In 2012, Skype, the Internet phone service, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2011, was the top filer from an Irish address.

European Patent Office filings from Irish residents fell from 712 in 2008 to 638 in 2012.

On Wednesday, IDA Ireland, the inward investment agency, published its 2012 annual report, which discloses that the number of foreign-owned client companies investing more than €100,000 per annum in R&D was at 293 -- 28% of the total. Most of the spending is not on high level research.

Sales and administration jobs dominate in some of the biggest Irish-based high tech giants such as Apple and Google.

At official level, no one knows if even one self-assessed claim for the 25% R&D tax credit was rejected, since the scheme was introduced a decade ago.

Irish Economy: Innovation, a failed enterprise policy and inconvenient facts for 2013

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