IT'S hoped that thousands of jobs could eventually be created if plans to develop Ireland as a global centre for intellectual property management prove viable.
Consultancy Deloitte has just been hired by Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton to undertake an in-depth study into whether Ireland could be developed as an international content services centre. It could effectively create the equivalent of an IFSC for intellectual property.
It's hoped that such a move would make Ireland a world centre for managing, trading, distributing and investing in intellectual property. It would also involve arranging back-office fulfilment positions for global traders involved in the area.
It's believed that Minister Bruton has significant ambitions in relation to the proposed project.
However, before any firm plans are advanced it's understood the Minister was keen to have a cost-benefit analysis undertaken. The 10-week-long study by Deloitte, which will begin in the new year, will also examine the options open to Ireland.
The country could opt to develop as a "light" centre, where it encourages companies on an ad hoc basis to establish their intellectual capital here. Alternatively, the report will also look at the potential impact of greater tax enhancements and legal incentives in developing the sector.
The country could also try to create an "anchor tenant" model where the government would try to attract some key companies in order to establish Ireland as a centre of excellence.
Another potential option would be that the government underwrites and builds a full-service centre and develops an intellectual property trading platform.
It's been estimated that in many developed countries intangible assets and intellectual property represent between 60pc and 80pc of the valuation of high-tech and consumer goods companies.
Singapore has also been exploring the possibility of making itself an intellectual property hub for Asia.