Triumphant Year for Israel Patent Office

The following is a review of events during the past year that involve the Israel Patent Office.

The Israel Patent Office database is now online, and is accessible from both the Patent Office website and via WIPO’s Patentscope.

The Patent Department of the Israel Patent Office has received ISO certification and an ombudsman has been appointed to deal with complaints.

In September, Israel implemented the Madrid Protocol for Trademarks.

Other highlights during 2010 include:

The Israel Patent Office was invited to join the Patent Prosecution Superhighway with the USPTO.

Dr. Francis Gurry, head of WIPO and the Chinese Commissioner of Patents both made official visits to Israel.                  

Efficiency Measures Implemented by the Commissioner
Several changes were implemented that are intended to make Israel patent examinations more efficient.

In addition to filing copies of prior art cited either abroad or in an International Search Report as being novelty or inventive step destroying (“X” or “Y” citations), details of all prior art known to the inventor, whether cited abroad or otherwise believed to be relevant to the claimed invention must now be submitted.
A surcharge of NIS 500 for each claim beyond the first 50 has been instituted. Failure to pay will delay examination.
No more than two independent claims in each category, i.e. methods of manufacture, claims for a device or system, claims for a tool for manufacturing and Swiss type use claims are allowable.
The number of monthly extensions available when prosecuting an Israel Patent Application has been limited to six per office action and to 15 in total. However, it is still possible to suspend examination for longer periods.
Incorporation by reference in Israel patent specifications is no longer acceptable.
It is no longer possible to file a divisional (grandchild) application based on a divisional (child) application once the parent application on which the child divisional is based has issued.
End of an Era
Dr. Meir Noam, the Israel Commissioner of Patents completes his term of office at the end of December. Although most of his term as commissioner was very successful, one of his reforms has been harshly criticized by MK David Rotem, Chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee. Rotem charged that the Patent Office failed to print the basic details of new patent filings in an official paper journal even though they continued to collect the publication fee from all applicants over four years. This amounts to an estimated NIS 3 million (more than $820,000). See Israel Commissioner of Patents Criticized in this newsletter.

During Dr. Noam’s tenure the Israel Patent Office has made significant strides with regard to the services it provides to both domestic and international applicants.