The Israeli economy is characterized by modern industry, technological and scientific knowledge, intensive activity in foreign trade and a well-developed financial market. Since Israel’s natural resources are poor, priority is given to research and development investments to promote the technological and qualitative edge of Israeli products in international markets. In addition, Israel has a well-developed service sector, which fully supports industry via banking, accounting, legal and technological services.
Israel is acclaimed for its highly skilled labor force, inviting the attention of international technological giants such as IBM, Microsoft, Intel, Google, and Facebook which have established and maintain R&D centers. Teva, the largest manufacturer of generic pharmaceutics, is an Israeli enterprise, as are world-leading hi-tech enterprises such as Checkpoint and Sandisk. Additionally, the Internet revolution has produced hundreds of Israeli startups, the most renowned being WAZE, which has been merged recently to Google. We cannot end this short list without mentioning the military industry which includes enterprises such as Israel Aerospace Industries, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Elbit - Electro-optics Systems, ELOP electro-optics industries, Elta Systems Ltd - Aerospace Industries, and IMI – Israeli Military Industry which is the manufacturer of UZI, the famous Submachine Gun.
Israel’s legal system, particularly comprising Intellectual Property laws, has an excellent reputation. Israel is also a member of most major international conventions of Intellectual Property, such as the Paris Convention and the PCT Convention, implementing into the law most standards outlined in these conventions. A partial list of the conventions and treaties of which Israel is a member is cited at the end of this article.
Filing: A patent application has to be filed at the Israeli Patent Office in Jerusalem. The filing process is quite simple in comparison, for example, to the American practice. The current filing fee is about $530.
The specification of an application for patent may be in English, one of Israel’s official languages, in advantageous contrast to other countries, in which the applicant must have the entire specification or at least the granted claims, translated into local language.
"Applicants must provide an address in Israel to which correspondence may be sent by the Patent Office. The Office will not send notices or receipts to addresses overseas.
Only the owner of an invention (whether the inventor or his assignee) may apply for a patent in Israel.
Only a patent agent or attorney registered to practice in Israel may represent an applicant.
To be patentable an invention must be new, utile, capable of industrial or agricultural application and possess an inventive step. Universal novelty up to the date of application (or date of Convention Priority) is required. Thus any publication (written, oral or by exhibition) or use, in any country, even by the owner of the invention, may prevent the grant of a valid patent. A patent will not be granted for methods of medical treatment or for plant or animal varieties. Each application may relate to only one invention." (From the web site of the Israeli Patent Office)
Priority: An Israeli application may claim priority from a former application for patent in a “convention state” (generally speaking, a state or territory to which the Paris Convention applies) if the following terms are sustained:
The former application for patent was filed no more than 12 months from the latter;
An application for priority has been filed within two months from the filing date (of the Israeli application for patent);
A certified copy of the former application (specification and drawings) was provided to the Israeli Patent Authority within 12 months from the filing date;
In the case wherein the prior application is not drafted in an Israeli formal language, the Israeli Patent Authority may ask the applicant to provide a translation of the specification into an Israeli formal language (English being among such).
Publication: The bibliographic information of a patent application, such as the name of the Applicant, and the title of the invention, are published a few weeks after filing. However, the invention disclosure, including its description, drawings and claims, are published at the ILPO Web site about 18 months after the filing date. The invention disclosure may take place earlier if a Notice of Allowance is issued earlier.
The Israeli patent examination: The Israeli Patent Authority performs an examination to determine whether the application complies with the Israeli law and regulations. This examination is usually fair and considerably less formal than, for example, the examinations of USPTO. Emphasis of the examination is on the worldwide common criterions for patentability: novelty, inventiveness, industrial applicability, and usefulness.
Not all inventions are eligible for patent protection in Israel. For example, mathematical formulae and methods for medical treatment of human beings are ineligible for patenting in Israel. It should be noted that methods for doing business are also ineligible for patenting in Israel. Practically, the Israeli Patent Authority has adopted the European attitude to software-related inventions and methods for doing business.
Expediting the examination: The Israeli Patent Authority starts the examination process about three years after the filing date in Israel, depending on the field of the invention. Nevertheless, the examination can be expedited in the event a third party is utilizing the claimed invention, or if the invention is "green". The fee for applying for expediting an examination is about $285.
Prosecution: A response to an Official Action should be filed within four months, although the applicant has the option to delay his response. In this case a fee of about $60 per additional month should be paid. Generally speaking, the Israeli Examiner is not inclined to abandon an application for patent if the applicant thereof has failed to response to an Official Action within the required period.
According to Israeli patent practice, an amendment to the specification or claims requires replacing the previous pages with new pages. The new pages have to be marked by notations identifying the version of the page. For example, “123456/2” at the top of a page denotes that the page is the second version of the corresponding page of Israeli Patent Application Number 123456. In addition, the applicant must provide the marked up pages thereof.
Information Disclosure Statement: An applicant of an Israeli Patent Application is required to inform the Israeli Patent Authority about any existing prior art of which he is aware. This demand is continuous, expiring only at the Allowance Date. In this regard, Israel has adopted the USPTO attitude.
Reliance on conclusions of examination in other countries: One of the most important points of patent prosecution in Israel is Section 17(c) of the Israeli Patent Law. This section enables the Examiner to adopt results of a parallel application examination in the following states: Austria, Australia, United States, Germany, Denmark, The United Kingdom, The Russian Federation, Japan, The European Patent Office, Norway, Canada, Sweden and the PCT examination. In other words, if at the time the Israeli examination takes place, a patent on a parallel application in one of the aforesaid states has been granted, the Israeli Examiner is liable to adopt this result, and grant a patent. This spares the applicant excess prosecution effort.
Notice of Allowance: When the Examiner concludes that the application in its current form complies with the Israeli Law and Regulations, a Notice of Allowance is issued. After paying a fee of $230, the entire application, including the specification, is officially published. For three months following the Allowance Date, anyone may file an objection to grant of a patent. Should such an objection be filed, the arguments presented are examined, and if the Examiner rejects the objections, or if no objection has been filed, a patent is granted.
Patent granting: Once a patent is granted, it is valid only for three months. In order to keep the patent in force, the patentee has too pay maintenance fee of about $230 in order to keep the patent in force up to six years from the application date.
Confidentiality: With the exception of general details such as the applicant name, the invention title, and so on, the specification is not available to the public until the Publication Date, which takes place in about 18 months from the priority date, or earlier in the case a patent is allowed earlier.
Maintenance fees: An Israeli patent may be in effect 20 years from its filing date. Nevertheless, this period can be extended up to five years in patents for medicaments.
Currently (Nov-2015) the maintenance fees are as follows:
Alternatively, a patentee may pay $3200 in advance, for the entire 20 year period of the patent’s lifespan.
A delay in paying maintenance fees may result in abandoning the patent.
Patent attorneys: According to Israeli Patent Law, patent attorneys (as well as licensed practicing advocates) possess exclusive rights for wage brokering regarding patent prosecution, design and trademark registration, preparation of all documents for intellectual property authorities in Israel and abroad, and representation of applicants before the intellectual property authorities.
The Israeli Patent Law (Translated by WIPO)
Conventions: Israel is a member of most major international treaties on intellectual property rights, including:
Disclaimer: The information on this web site is general and cannot take the place of professional advice given with full knowledge of the specific circumstances of each case following consideration of the relevant facts and laws. Furthermore, for the sake of clarity, some details have been omitted or partially specified.