ISA calls for creation of IP Services Centre

12 Oct 2004 has learned that the Irish Software Association (ISA) is preparing to call on the Government to pave the way for the creation of an Irish Intellectual Property Services Centre (IPSC) that would function in a similar manner to the IFSC, putting Ireland on a world stage for the creation and protection of IP. It is understood that ISA is collaborating with Enterprise Ireland (EI) in encouraging the Government to back the venture.

In a number of pre-budget submissions, the lobby group representing the interests of the indigenous software industry is preparing to call on the Government to invest in the IPSC as a form of protecting IP generated by local firms as well as third-level bodies.

The organisation will also call on the newly appointed Finance Minister Brian Cowen TD to remove the EU-led block on the Business Expansion Scheme that organisations such as the ISA lobbied hard to sustain last year. The ISA will also be renewing its call on the Government to ensure a greater share of Government services spend with indigenous companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises.

Outlining the idea for the IPSC, the chairman of the ISA’s competitiveness committee, John Shiel, said: “We are always going to be stronger at the beginning of the value chain. Academically Ireland is a strong country but more should be done to generate IP and attract investment from other countries as well as extend beyond patents to include recognition for IP amongst industry standard bodies.

“The project – which will support all kinds of IP and not just software but food, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and other industries – would need to be backed in the same way as the IFSC. We are working closely with EI to generate a suitable appetite in Government for such a project.

“The fact is, if you can create the IP, it can be an asset that can be sold and the services centre would function in such a way as to speed up the commercialisation of such an asset on an international scale and generate further wealth for this nation.

“For it to work, however, we would need strong input from the colleges. Colleges need to have a more practical and innovative approach to the commercialisation of IP, instead of being proprietary and parochial about IP. The big win for the colleges is that they will help churn out new products and unlock potential wealth and employment in Ireland.

“In this way the Government should be strongly encouraging colleges to create a more entrepreneur-friendly policy that is consistent,” Shiel said.

Shiel also said that this time round, the ISA’s budgetary submissions would be strategic for the country rather than purely financial. “The creation of an IPSC would require a lot of work in terms of putting in place the legislation and getting the funding behind the vision. The ISA is doing a lot of research on what it would take to make Ireland successful and if the Government sets an objective to have an IPSC in place by 2007, we believe it would be achievable.

“It would make a huge impact not only on the software industry but on a range of other industries as well,” Shiel said.

By John Kennedy