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On Wales Enterprise Day the Menai Science Park ("M-SParc") celebrates the businesses that have graduated from start-up to scale-up. By definition, scale-ups seek to expand their business not only in the United Kingdom but also overseas. An obvious stepping stone for expansion for businesses that have established themselves in Wales is the Republic of Ireland. That is why the theme of this year's Wales Enterprise Day is "Rebuilding Bridges with Europe - Wales's Relationship with Ireland".
Traffic between Wales and Ireland is not all one way. Despite Brexit, Britain remains an attractive market for Irish businesses. It has a market of over 65 million consumers, a highly developed financial services sector and it was recently ranked by the WIPO as the 4th most innovative country in the world (see WIPO Global Innovation Index 2023). With its science parks, enterprise zones and proximity to Ireland, Wales is a good place for Irish companies to set up their first base.
To explore the opportunities for Welsh scale-ups in Ireland and Irish scale-ups in Wales the main event on Wales Enterprise Day will be a hybrid seminar between 12:30 and 14:00 entitled "Adfer Pontydd gydag Ewrop" or "Restoring Bridges with Europe," It will link the Welsh science parks AberInnovation, M-SParc and Transhed Tech with the Guinness Enterprise Centre in Dublin. One high-tech company that operates in both Wales and Ireland is the IT consultancy CapVentis. That company's CEO John Glennane and its CTO Mark Hawkes will outline some of the practical issues of carrying on business in Wales and Ireland.
Ireland's intellectual property laws are very similar to those of Wales and England. Ireland is a party to the European Patent Convention and has signed but not yet ratified the Unified Patent Court Agreement (see OJ 20.6.2013 C175/1). Applicants for patents can choose between a European patent or an Irish patent granted under the Patents Act 1992. There is a further choice between full-term and short-term patents. Brand owners can choose between an EU trade mark granted by the EU Intellectual Property Office ("EUIPO") in Alicante under the EU Trade Mark Regulation or an Irish trade mark granted by the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland ("IPOI") in Kilkenny under the Trade Marks Act 1996. Similarly, design owners may seek a registered Community design under the Community design regulation from the EU IPO or an Irish registered design from the IPOI under the Industrial Designs Act 2001.
For British owners of EU trade marks and registered Community designs or EU plant varieties it is worth remembering that the Irish High Court remains an EU trade mark court and a Community design court. Actions for the enforcement of those rights can usually be brought in those courts where the procedure will be very similar to that of the courts of Wales and England,
Guidance on those issues will be provided by James Bridgeman SC a leading member of the Irish Bar, I shall offer similar guidance to any member of the audience who wants information on Welsh and English law. I shall invite other professionals, investors and other experts to join the audience and comment on matters within their expertise,
Anyone requiring further information should call me on +44 (0)20 7404 5252 or send me a message through my contact form.