Significant Changes in Israel Patent Law

On July 25 the Israel Patent Authority announced a far reaching amendment to the
Patent Law of 5727/1967, enacted by the Knesset on July 12. The highlights of the
changes include:

1. Opening of Application Files to Public Inspection

Pending Application files will now be open to online public inspection at http://www.ilpatsearch.justice.gov.il/UI/ with a list of such applications published periodically in the Patent Gazette.

The dates of publication are:

  • National applications (not the Israel national phase of a PCT) will now be published within 18 months after either the application date or the Convention Priority date
    – whichever is earlier.
  • National phase applications of a PCT application will be published within 45 days
    of the date of national phase entry.

A list of applications whose date for publication (18 months or 45 days) has currently
passed will appear in the Gazette at the end of August 2012. The relevant files
will become available for inspection on that date. However, no more than 4,500
such applications will be published at one time. Divisional applications will be
published at the same time as the parent application.

Publication may be prevented by abandoning the application within 7 days of issuance
of a notice that the application is to be published. This may be particularly relevant
for applicants who included potentially prejudicial comments or arguments during
examination, in the knowledge that under the old system the file wrapper would
be published only upon issuance.

2. Third Party Submission of Prior Art

Effective immediately interested third parties will be permitted to file lists and
copies of references and publications thought to be relevant to examination of a
patent application, up to two months after the applicant has responded to the Notice
Prior to Examination.

3. Third Party Requests for Accelerated Examination

Beginning January 12, 2013, Accelerated Examination may be requested not only by
the applicant, but also by an interested third party.

Comments:

Transparency and Public Interest

As noted in the text of the official announcement, its aim is “to detail the main
parts of the Amendment and how they are to be implemented within the Patent Authority,
but is not exhaustive with respect to all of the implications of the Amendment.”
We will report the practical details of the changes as they are announced or clarified
by the Patent Authority.

From a qualitative point of view these changes combine to make the public aware
of what is being patented, and therefore how their rights may be affected by the
award of a legal monopoly. In addition, their participation in the process is also
invited. Publication will enable the public to view the case at it unfolds. 3rd party submission now gives the public a hand in reducing the incidence of bad patents,
by ensuring that more relevant prior art is brought to the Examiner’s attention.
Arguably even more invasive, is the ability of the public to request expedited
examination of applications filed by third parties. It will be particularly interesting
to see how this last provision is used.

Stronger Patents

As these provisions take effect, we will see how this affects the behavior of patentees
and their competitors. They should lead to stronger patents and a higher level of
confidence in the patents issued by the Israel Patents Authority. This is the same
Patent Office that recently joined the elite group of 16 patent offices around the
world that are authorized by the PCT as Search & Examination Authorities.

For questions please contact: Jeremy Ben-David

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