Michael Ophir, formerly Martin Oppenheimer, was born in Furst in Germany, and after Christelnacht, hid family escaped to the UK, where he later studied law at Kings College London. Living in Golders Green, Michael worked as a solicitor in the UK for over 20 years. He emigrated to Israel in the early 1970s, and was a librarian in the Law Department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He served as the Israel Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks in the period of from 1988 to 1998. Perhaps the biggest change that occurred under his stewardship was Israel joining the PCT mechanism for International filings.
In addition to his interest in intellectual property, Michael had other interests. He was a choir master, and gave weekly lectures on the Torah portion and on the Mishna. One of the regular attendees was Dr Bernard Crammer who was the head of the Chemistry and Life Science Examination Department at the Israel Patent Office.
Suffering from ill-health and frailty in recent years, he moved to sheltered accommodation near Ramat Eskhkol, the Jerusalem neighborhood where he’d previously lived.
I entered the IP profession after Michael Ophir’s term as commissioner, but got to know him a little, and found him very helpful whenever I consulted with him. I was extremely grateful for his attending an event I held with my previous partnership JMB, Factor & Co. where he gave a vote of thanks and reminisced on a couple of rulings he’d issued. See http://blog.ipfactor.co.il/2009/12/03/the-boundaries-of-patentability/
He is survived by his wife Anne, and children Jacqueline, Zvi, Frances, and Jonathan.
May his memory be blessed.