Ireland cuts intellectual property red tape to help create more jobs

Ireland has reduced its intellectual property (IP) red tape in a bid to create jobs from the near €900m annual state investment in research and development.

Armed with a more open IP protocol, the newly opened UCD-based Central Technology Transfer Office will offer businesses “generous terms” to access Irish IP rights, thus encouraging them to commercialise state-funded research.

Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) revised remit will now include applied research. It will also be asked to prioritise an applicant’s job-creation potential as a key factor in allocating research funds. SFI welcomed the move, noting that 600 companies currently partake in over 1,000 collaborations with SFI-funded researchers.

Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Minister Richard Bruton said: “The quality of our R&D is already a major part of the reason for the success of our multinational and indigenous companies — but we must do more. [The new office] will make it easier for companies to negotiate commercial arrangements with researchers. It will improve Ireland’s international offering and encourage more companies to locate here.”

Also present at the launch of the new technology transfer office in UCD was Dr Emmeline Hill of Equinome. Last year, Nova-UCD-based Equinome began seeking partners for a specific athletic trait that it identified in thoroughbred horses. Equinome now has clients in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Britain, France, Russia and Singapore.

Mr Bruton said: “Equinome is an excellent example of the successful commercialisation of the results of public research, and it now stands poised to develop into a world-class international company.

“This announcement is about ensuring that the process which Equinome completed becomes quicker and easier, about ensuring that more businesses and more researchers engage in this process, and about ensuring that we create more jobs out of our world-class research.”

Equinome is one of 35 Nova-UCD campus companies, collectively employing 200 staff. A recent survey found that these companies expect to add another 300 staff by the end of 2013.

In 2003, Ireland ranked 36th in the world for quality of scientific research output. In 2010, Ireland was 20th in the world.

In 2000, spend on publicly-funded R&D was €290m. In 2010, it was €872m.

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