Technology & Intellectual Property
Ireland is a world-leading centre for the tech industry, and serves as a gateway for international technology businesses seeking to enter or serve the European market. For instance, nine of the world’s top ten technology companies are located in Ireland, eight of which are our clients.
The Irish Government takes an active role in this regard, proactively promoting Ireland as a global digital hub.
This support from the top down makes Ireland an ideal location for international tech, online and communication companies, as is evident from the thriving tech ecosystem. For instance, “Silicon Docks” – the area of Dublin in which our head office is located – is the location for global giants like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Airbnb.
A combination of Ireland’s liberalised and vital electronic communications sector, a highlyeducated workforce, and an internationallyrespected Data Protection Authority are some of the benefits for a technology company locating its EU headquarters in Ireland.
From a technology contracting perspective, Ireland is a common law jurisdiction, which means that its legal concepts are recognised and understood by most foreign investors, including US multi-nationals.
These factors also make Ireland attractive for international high potential start-ups and entrepreneurs, which have a growing representation in Ireland, particularly in software, online and fintech sectors.
Privacy & Data Security
Our market-leading Privacy and Data Security team provide world-class expertise and strategic advice on all issues surrounding data protection, privacy law and cybersecurity compliance. With clients ranging from the world’s best known data-driven companies, to high potential start-ups, we offer unparalleled global expertise coupled with detailed local knowledge.
We have earned a reputation as one of the premier teams in the EU advising on the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). We advise US and other non-European companies on global privacy structures, EU-wide compliance with privacy law, and complex multi-jurisdictional data transfers, outsourcing arrangements, processing (including big data analytics) and services agreements. As part of this trans-boundary work, we frequently co-ordinate complex and international data protection projects with counsel across Europe.
Intellectual Property (IP) covers a range of intangible assets arising out of the creativity, innovation and goodwill of a business. Ireland’s strong legal and common law framework, advantageous tax regime for the exploitation of IP and highly educated workforce puts it in a unique and favourable position for companies seeking to exploit their IP here.
The Irish legal system is based on common law principles similar to North American, British and Commonwealth jurisdictions. As a long-standing member of the European Union (EU), businesses located in Ireland also benefit from the expansive EU protections for IP.
Ireland has an independent and efficient court system with a fast-tracked and case-managed Commercial Court process which deals with IP rights. Ireland’s commercially-progressive IP laws protect four principal rights - trademarks, copyright, patents, and designs. With the exception of copyright, all IP rights can be registered for protection. Additionally, EU legislation, and the various international conventions which Ireland has signed up to, provide the ability to simultaneously register IP to obtain protection for trademarks, designs and patents across a number of jurisdictions.
Intellectual Property Tax Advantages
In addition to the 12.5% rate of corporation tax on trading profits, the Irish tax regime also offers the following benefits to companies involved in the management of IP:
- Tax write-off for the capital cost of acquiring IP which can result in an effective tax rate of 2.5% on related income.
- Extensive treaty network limiting foreign withholding tax leakage on royalty payments to Ireland.
- Exemption from Irish withholding tax on royalty payments from Ireland to both treaty and non-treaty jurisdictions.
- Unilateral relief for foreign tax suffered on royalties received from abroad.
- Exemption from Irish stamp duty on the sale or transfer of intellectual property.
- Tax credit in the amount of 25% of qualifying expenditure incurred on research and development activities.
- Ability to utilise research and development tax credit against current year tax liability, with any excess allowed to be carried back against prior year tax liability, carried forward indefinitely or offset in future tax years, surrendered in a tax efficient manner to key employees or claimed as a refund.
- Ireland has introduced a knowledge development box with a tax rate of 6.25%. To avail of the rate, actual research and development needs to occur physically within the EU.