Arpal Aluminium Industries filed a patent application No. 174280 titled “Energy Absorbent Wall Openings and Method of Use Therefor” in March 2006. In October 2010, the Application was allowed and published for opposition purposes. In February 2011, Klil Industries LTD filed an opposition claiming that the application lacked novelty since it was displayed at FPED-V, the Force Protection Equipment Demonstration Exhibition in the US, before the priority date.
Note – In Israel, there is no grace period for filing patent applications. There is a procedure in the Israel Law, under which an applicant can request and obtain permission to display a device at an exhibition prior to filing an application, but to the best of my knowledge, this has never been done.
Arpal argued that the device demonstrated at the exhibition was an earlier model, not covered by this application. Klil requested a full disclosure of what was exhibited, which Arpal opposed, as the persons responsible were no longer working for the company, and Klil was tardy in their request.
Mixing her metaphors, Deputy Commissioner Ms Jaqueline Bracha ruled that Klil’s request was no mere fishing expedition and it was well established that opposition proceedings were supposed to take place with the cards dealt face up.
She gave Arpal 14 days to produce their evidence, and a week to claim that any particular document should remain confidential. Klil were then to be given a week to respond.
The case: Interim ruling concerning Opposition by Klil, concerning Israel Patent Application No. 174280 to Arpal, 19 June 2012.
The corresponding application has issued in the United States as US 8,209,936. One assumes that any disclosure by the applicant within the grace period of 12 months before the priority date will not affect the validity of the US patent.
See here for a recent case regarding a refusal to a request to make clinical trials of record in a pharmaceutical opposition.