Book Review: Intellectual Property Law and Practice in Israel

When I first saw this book I suspected from its thickness (36 mm (1 15/32″  thick) that the authors had resorted to the well known strategy of adding appendices such as copies of the Israel Patent Law, Trademark Regulations, Copyright Ordinance and the like. This is not the case. The book runs to 632 pages of analysis, with a further 50 pages taken up with a table of cases and an index. There is no gratuitous padding. The book is simply a fair attempt to provide a detailed overview of IP in Israel and its length reflects its comprehensiveness.

As a thorough overview of intellectual property law in Israel, the book succeeds. It covers patents, copyrights, trademarks and designs, unjust enrichment, trade secrets, passing off and related rights.  It is the result of significant research by the authors, and though one can quibble with the odd opinion expressed, the book is authoritative. It is certainly a worthwhile addition to the library of any practicing Israeli patent attorney or IP lawyer.

Unfortunately, the readability of the book suffers from the lack of professional editing and the writing style provides constant reminders that the authors are not native English speakers. Paragraphs are long-winded and repetitive. Sentence syntax reminds one that the authors are used to writing in Hebrew. Sometimes, such as where copyright infringement by DJs at ‘wedding hauls’ is discussed, the typos are amusing. Generally, they are simply tiresome. I suspect that tighter writing could have slimmed down the book, shortened paragraphs and made it easier to comprehend without compromising on its comprehensiveness. That said, when allowing for the fact that the authors are not writing in their native language, the standard of the English is impressive. It is certainly better than my Hebrew. Nevertheless, the book is a little tedious and difficult to read because of language issues, and it’s a shame.

As would be expected from a legal text, judicial doctrines are discussed with reference to the case-law. Since the cases referred to are rarely available in English, I believe that the book would have been enhanced by an appendix abstracting the details of each case and providing a one page overview covering the specific issues and the legal significance. The cases could be arranged by subject or chronologically, with reference keys to facilitate the reader to find precedents of interest. I note that Machshavot who publish such overviews of case-law (in Hebrew) do not have a volume covering IP decisions. Although such an appendix would make a long reference work even longer, I think this would be a worthwhile addition, and would probably result in the thematic sections being shortened and would minimize repetition.

I suspect that the authors, who are both attorneys-in-law, in choosing to refer to follow the US convention and refer to licensed Israel patent attorneys as ‘patent agents’ will not endear themselves to their fellow professionals with technical backgrounds who universally and correctly translate the Hebrew term as Patent Attorney and refer to themselves as such. The training in IP law that Israel Patent Attorneys undergo includes two-year mentoring which is twice as long as that of law students. Both the written and the oral exams are difficult and the oral exam in particular, has a very low pass rate, particularly when considering the academic qualifications of the participants. Indeed I suspect that this book will be very widely used by trainee patent attorneys preparing for the Israel Patent Office oral exam.

The book, including it’s cover, weighs in at 1022 grams. It’s an attractive volume.

Intellectual Property Law and Practice in Israel by Eran Liss and Dan Adin, Oxford University Press May 2012  – ISBN: 9780199917419 (13-digit)  ISBN: 0199917418 (10-digit) – $225 from the publishers.

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