Intellectual property (IP) rights are valuable assets for your business – possibly among the most important it possesses. Why is it important to protect intellectual property rights?

Your IP rights are important because they can:

  • Set your business apart from competitors
  • Be sold or licensed, providing an important revenue stream
  • Offer customers something new and different
  • Form an essential part of your marketing or branding
  • Be used as security for loans

You may be surprised at how many aspects of your business can be protected. Your name and logo, designs, inventions, works of creative or intellectual effort or trademarks that distinguish your business can all be types of IP.

Intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement are a major challenge for EU businesses wishing to expand into new markets, the European Commission has said. While significant legislative progress has been made in recent years, protection and enforcement is still not sufficiently effective, and challenges such as lack of transparency, and insufficient enforcement of IP rights remain.

Since 2017, IP Key China has been directed by the European Commission, implemented and co-funded by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). It has provided substantial support to technical intellectual property cooperation to assist the EU rights-holders in China.

This protection is important for securing innovation and competitiveness of the European companies in the global market while intellectual property rights are a defining factor in Ireland’s trade with China, the European Commission has pointed out.

EUIPO executive director Christian Archambeau said that for the past five years, IP Key China has been at the side of entrepreneurs, SMEs, researchers, and creative thinkers to protect the intellectual assets that ensure the future of their business in China.

It has done this by improving the implementation of IP legislation and IP enforcement systems in China.

To exploit your IP fully, it makes strong business sense to do all you can to secure it. You can then:

  • protect it against infringement by others and ultimately defend in the courts your sole right to use, make, sell or import it
  • stop others using, making, selling or importing it without your permission
  • earn royalties by licensing it
  • exploit it through strategic alliances
  • make money by selling it

Substantial concerns exist regarding the interpretation of patentability requirements, the lack of sufficient legal protection against trademark applications made in bad faith, and the protection provided for trade secrets. An emerging concern is ensuring fair and non-discriminating treatment in competition cases opened against foreign rights-holders.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) offers a number of online tools which can help you better understand your IP rights.

NB – This is a guide for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have an issue requiring legal advice, please contact any of the team at Nolan Farrell & Goff LLP, whose numbers can be found on our website, or email