An Israeli Approach to Author’s Rights

January 30, 2014

price control

On February 6, 2014 the Law for the Protection of Literature and Authors in Israel (Temporary Provision), 5773-2013 will come into effect.

This Act is expected to revolutionize the Israeli book market by introducing new regulatory requirements with respect to publishing, distribution, sales and profit allocation across the book supply chain.

The act is a protectionist measure to protect authors from market forces in a dysfunctional market dominated be a cartel of two main chains of bookshops that control over 80% of the Israel market.

Protecting authors from having their work discounted will, of course, increase costs of books. The Law is interesting in that it is an attempt to address a perceived problem. The period over which the Law will affect book prices is 18 months.

What is refreshing about this law is that it aims to regulate the first 18 months of sales. I think that this sort of time span is relevant. This contracts strongly with Copyright, which, in Israel, is called, more accurately, ‘Creator’s Rights’. Copyright lasts life of author + 50, 70 or 95 years. This is an area where reform is needed since if there is still an interest in a work 10 or 20 years later, the author will invariably have been financially compensated.

Main Provisions of the new act

Under the Authors Act, book prices will be ‘protected’ for 18 months from the date of first publication. During the Protection Period publishers must set a retail price for each book, which must be marked on the book. The retail price for printed books may be different from that of e-books. The publisher may not change the retail price during the Protection Period.

During the Protection Period, bookstores may not sell books at a different price from the retail price set by the publishers. Not only regular discounts are illegal, but also special offers of the type common by Israel bookstores, such as “buy one get one free” and promotions such as “four for 100 Shekels” are not allowed.

The ‘no discounts’ and ‘no bundling’ has some exceptions:

  • A discount of up to 20% of the retail price may be granted during the annual Hebrew Book Week. A discount of no more than 10% of the retail price may be granted by an online bookstore, and a discount of no more than 20% of the retail price is allowed for a single entity not allowed to return the books.
  • During the Protection Period a publisher must pay an author no less than 8% of the retail price for each of the 6,000 first copies sold, and 10% of the retail price for each copy sold over 6,000 copies. However, for his/her first book, an author will only be entitled to minimum payments equal to 80% of these percentages. During the seven years following the Protection Period, a publisher will pay an author no less than 16% of the actual payment received by the publisher for the books sold.
  • Once a year, publishers and bookstores will enter into a written agreement setting the discount at which the books will be sold by the publisher to the stores during the relevant year. Bookstores are prohibited from requesting, and publishers are prohibited from granting, any further discounts beyond the margins set in the annual agreement.

The Authors Act will be in force for a trial period of three years at the end of which its impact will be assessed and the Act will be re-examined.

The Authors Act contains other provisions, such as a prohibition on remunerating salespersons for recommending a specific book or a specific author; allocation of shelf space and display space between books published by different publishers, oversight, enforcement and sanctions.


The goals of the Authors Act, as stated in Section 1 of the Act are:

“to ensure Israeli authors proper pay for their creations, to promote literature in Israel, to preserve cultural diversity in publication and distribution of books… to provide readers an opportunity to choose among a wide range of books according to their wishes and tastes and enable competition between publishers and bookstores with respect to quantity, variety and the quality of books offered to the consumer.”

In the notes accompanying the proposal we learn that

“Books and literature are regarded as products of a definitive cultural value that many countries in the western world recognize the need to preserve. These countries rejected the approach pursuant to which a book is a commodity that should be subject to free market conditions. In the State of Israel there exists a unique situation in which the conduct of the book market is dictated by a cartel composed of two chains of bookstores that controls 80% of the market. One of these chains is controlled by a book publishing company. This situation causes serious harm to the principle of free competition… a serious failure in the book market was caused…”

The main aim of this legislation is to help authors, making it possible for them to profit from their creative output. It has been argued that without this additional protection, there will not be sufficient incentive for them to write.

I dispute this. I don’t think that the size of the market has any effect on quality literature. I don’t think that a law of this nature is required to make authoring books sustainable. I note that Iceland has a population of 300,000 of which 10% are authors. The profitability of writing has little effect on the amount of books written and less effect still on the quality of the literature and its cultural contribution.

If the problem is that two chains dominate the market, then perhaps the chains should be split up? If a publisher controls one chain, then it seems difficult to follow the argument that the chains are in a too strong negotiating position with respect to publishers.

Nowadays anyone can self-publish, and with two chains controlling the market, presumably the authors and publishing houses can choose to work with one chain only and can create contracts regarding discounting, so it is difficult to see how this law provides leverage hitherto unavailable.

Any protectionist measures that help authors will invitably be at the expense of the consumers, i.e. the reading public.

It is, of course true that the people who bundle books in the “buy one get one free” or “4 for 100” promotions are not literature experts and their decisions on such promotions derive mostly from business considerations. It is, however, not true that such promotions force high-quality literary works out of the public eye.

People may be encouraged to buy certain books by price, but quality literature will never sell at the rate of trashy romances.

It has been argued that if the large chain bookstores are not allowed to give discounts and new books will be sold for a fixed price, independent bookstores will have a better chance of competing with large bookstores. This argument can be extended to other areas. Perhaps fixed prices across industries is a good thing. Adam Smith and Milton Freedman would disagree, but perhaps Carl Marx would approve.

It is expected that book prices will increase and, as a result, book sales will decrease. This may adversely affect the variety of books available and it may become more difficult for new authors to get published.

Israel Supreme Court Resuscitates Patent Application that Suffered Sudden Death

January 28, 2014

cot empty cot

On 4 January 2013, I reported on a strange decision by the patent office wherein Ms Jacqueline Bracha accepted an opposition filed by Colb on behalf of Aminach a mattress manufacturer, that alleged that Israel Patent Application No. 179840 for a mattress claimed to minimize cot death (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS) should be refused due to lack of utility. My original article may be found here.

Essentially the inventors had not proven their case that the mattress provided the desired effect. Perhaps foolhardily, the inventors not only drafted their own application but also fought the opposition themselves.

On losing the opposition, the inventors appealed to the Tel Aviv District Court which ruled that on Appeal, they could review the legal conclusions of the deputy commissioner but could not hear new evidence. This ruling was appealed to the Israel Supreme Court who has now ruled that unlike regular civil procedure, in an appeal of a decision of the patent office to the courts, new evidence may be heard.

The Supreme Court ruled that Section 177 of the Israel Patent Law and Ordinance 193 of the patent regulations allow the court of Appeal hearing an appeal against a patent office decision to hear new evidence and to try the case as if it is the first court of Appeal. This should not be interpreted as meaning that the court has to hear new evidence and give the appellant a second bite at the judicial cherry. Nevertheless, the court may here new evidence where it sees fit.

In this case, Applicant had laboratory evidence that their prototype did have an effect. Instead of relating to this evidence, the District Court decided under Section 457 of the Civil Court Procedure that it could not hear new evidence that could and should have been presented to the patent office during the opposition. 

In the ruling, Judge Handel noted that the inventors were unrepresented, yet nevertheless persuaded the Deputy Commissioner that their invention was novel and inventive over the prior art. They argued that they never thought it necessary to demonstrate utility. Judge Handel felt that prior to refusing the patent application on grounds of utility, the Deputy Commissioner should have actively solicited evidence from the applicant, particularly as they were not represented and were fighting against a large mattress manufacturer who was represented. he ruled that in the circumstances, the Court of Appeal should here and consider evidence that the claimed invention works. He also noted that the US, UK and EPO had all allowed the invention on its merits.

Judge Handel realized that in the absence of a conflicting expert opinion, the Deputy Commissioner had accepted the expert opinion provided by the opposers and had not been swayed by attempts by applicants to point out logical flaws in his argument.

In the circumstances, the District Court should not have been considered as rehearing evidence weighed up by the Deputy Commissioner.

The Supreme Court referred the case back to the District Court to hear fully, allowing the parties to file new evidence.

Judges Juvran and Shaham concurred. No costs were awarded.

Appeal 5041/13 Gabai vs. Aminach

(this time the Gabais were represented by Adv. Amir Friedman).


In general, patent offices do not test hypotheses. The applicant does not have to show proof that his idea works to obtain a patent except in cases such as perpetual motion machines, turning lead into gold, anti-gravity and nuclear cold fusion where there is a consensus among scientists that the idea is impossible.    

At the time of the first write up I had been contacted by a lawyer to provide expert testimony. I did not want to address the issues. That fell through.

I can therefore now point out that the expert testimony provided by Aminach’s witness in no way proved that the mattress does not work. It is true that Applicants have also not proven that their mattress does have efficiency. There is, of course, a problem in that the correct scientific way to test the theory requires a large population of identical twins and putting one to sleep on a regular mattress and the other on the mattress of the invention in otherwise identical conditions. Once there have been a statistically significant number of cot deaths, one can see if the two mattresses function differently. This type of experiment, is, however, not very practical.

In the brief period I worked on this, I discovered some theories for cot death that provided theoretical support for the hypothesis that such a mattress would work, and also found a researcher who was modelling the effects of different mattresses on carbon dioxide build-up. I also spoke to polymer scientists who make foam mattresses. I am sure that it is possible to provide sufficient evidence to support the hypothesis as reasonable.


I think that having convinced the Deputy Commissioner that their claimed invention is novel and inventive, should have been awarded a patent. If it does not work, then Aminach will presumably not have a need to infringe it.

It would have been fun to fight this. I look forward to reporting that the patent has been allowed.

New Procedures for Prosecuting Israel Patent Applications

January 14, 2014

Israel patent office logo                        israel patent

The Israel patent office has issued new procedures for patent prosecution.

Notice Prior to Examination

In response to the Notice Prior to Examination, applicants are required to provide a list of relevant prior art including details of citations in corresponding applications in other jurisdictions. Non-patent literature should be supplied in full. Patents cited in the background of the specification do not need to be listed again.

Applicants are also required to provide a full list of corresponding patents and applications in other jurisdictions.

Where there are more than 50 claims, the claim set must be amended or excess claim fees must be paid.

Finally, the first publication of the invention must be reported and failure to do so will be considered as a requirement not met and may invalidate the patent.


It is now no longer necessary to submit marked up and clean copies of amended pages during prosecution. Claim amendments should be made by submitting a full set of marked up claims, whereas only amended pages to the specification need be submitted. These amended pages should be marked as {application number}/2, {application number}/3, etc.

On allowance, a complete, clean copy of the patent as allowed should be submitted together with the issue fees.


I see the logic and approve of the new procedure for making amendments.

Apparently, the new procedures follow a meeting with representatives of the professional organizations. The head of the association of patent attorneys, Dr Meir Noam, is the previous commissioner and does not practice opposite the patent office and hasn’t done so for about a decade. The head of the AIPPI Israel Chapter is a litigator. I therefore wonder to what extent the changes take into account the professionals that prosecute opposite the patent office.

Claims for Statutory Copyright for Screening Euro-League Matches Thrown Out by Israel Court

January 10, 2014


Charlton LTD has the franchise to screen Euro League football matches in Israel, and does so via cable television networks HOT and YES.

Charlton sued Sachar Abu Saah for screening the matches without permission, claiming statutory  copyright damages of NIS 100,000.

Judge Hadassa Asif of the Hadera Magistrate’s Court threw the case out since Charlton only attached some pages of their contract, and not all of it, and the defendant successfully argued that by not submitting the contract in its entirety the plaintiff had failed to establish that they owned the copyright allegedly infringed.

ת”א 18812-01-13 צ’רלטון בע”מ נ’ אבו סאח

T.A. 18812-01-13 Charlton LTD vs Abu Saah, Judge Hadassa Asif of the Hadera Magistrate’s Court, 22 December 2013

Entering National Phase in Israel, When the PCT Was Filed Late

January 6, 2014

PCT timeline

Israel Patent Application Number 227201 was timely filed. The problem was that the PCT application PCT/CA2012/000007 from which it was derived was filed late. The PCT should have been filed on 30 December 2011 but was actually filed on 4th January 2012.

The applicant of the PCT successfully persuaded the Canada Patent Office, acting as the PCT receiving office, to recognize the application as timely filed and to recognize priority of the PCT from various US provisionals: USSN 61/428,435, USSN 61/428,676 and USSN 61/428,445. This occurs under Regulation 26bis.3: Restoration of Right of Priority by Receiving Office.

Nevertheless, on entering national phase into Israel, the applicant should have petitioned to have the priorities recognized within one month. Applicant failed to do so and requested priority to be recognized in the second month from filing the national stage application.

The PCT Division of the Israel Patent Office refused to recognize priority. Applicant appealed to the Commissioner who granted leeway and referred the case back to the PCT receiving office to check that there were no other problems.


There are various reasons by which the Paris Convention deadline for filing a PCT application may be extended. Postal strikes and patent office closures are good examples. Sometimes inclement weather is allowed, but it has to be really bad.

Dr Ilan Sadeh’s Appeal to Supreme Court Rejected

December 29, 2013

boundary condition

Dr Ilan Sadeh is a mathematician, computer scientist and electrical engineer who claims that back in 1992 he developed some boundary condition theory concerning search engines and databases, thereby solving a problem which was not addressed for over 40 years. He was put out that his name wasn’t mentioned and his contribution wasn’t acknowledged in a review paper written by a Stanford academic – Professor Amir Dumbo, together with a student, and published in an IEEE journal edited by Professor Shlomo Shitz-Shamai. Professor Neri Merhav and Professor Ram Zamir also published articles in the IEEE journal, which failed to mentioned Sadeh’s contribution.

Sadeh sued the four academics and the IEEE for NIS 800,000 for copyright infringement, moral right infringement, malpractice by failure to exhibit due care and unjust enrichment.

The defendants requested for the case to be thrown out.

In the ruling, the court of first instance ruled that failure to reference or acknowledge an earlier researcher is not actionable under copyright law. Since there is no copyright in an idea, there is no moral right either. Charges of Unjust Enrichment and failure to take due care were also dismissed.  The court further ruled that the first three defendants hadn’t done anything actionable.  As for the US academic and the publisher, the court ruled that the charges were not properly served to the Stamford academic or to the publishers (IEEE – Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers). Since Professor Amir Dumbo emigrated to the United States in 1989 and was domiciled there, the Court of First Instance accepted that Israeli courts were not the correct forum. Furthermore, the court ruled that since Sadeh claimed that some 9 academic publications has wronged him in a similar way, the addition of two Israeli defendants was simply to try to create territorial jurisdiction in Israel for something where the US was clearly the proper jurisdiction to hear the case. The court also accepted Professor Dumbo’s contention that the case had been heard by a committee of academics appointed by the IEEE and again on appeal.

158219-09 Dr Ilan Sadeh vs. Professor Shlomo Shitz-Shamai, Professor Neri Merhav, Professor Ram Zamir, Profesor Amir Dumbo and the IEEE., Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court 7 July 2010

On 12 November 2013, the Tel Aviv District Court rejected the appeal, upholding the magistrate’s court ruling. It awarded costs of NIS 11,800 to the Israeli academics (defendants 1-3 together, and to the US academic and the journal independently.

Civil Action 11416-09-10 Dr Ilan Sadeh vs. Professor Shlomo Shitz-Shamai, Professor Neri Merhav, Professor Ram Zamir, Profesor Amir Dumbo and the IEEE, Tel Aviv District Court 

Dr Sadeh then appealed to the Supreme Court. Judge Amnon Rubinstein refused to reopen the case, and was dismissive of arguments brought by Dr Sadeh. From his comments, it would appear that Dr Sadeh did not address the issues raised and his legal pleadings were lacking in format and style.


It appears that Dr Sadeh has sued Ben Gurion University, Tel Hai academic college and the State of Israel in the past.  Since he has so much hands on experience of litigation, I feel it is perhaps inappropriate of me to criticize. Nevertheless, I would respectfully point out that whilst one does not have to retain the services of an attorney to sue in Israel, it is generally strongly advised for anyone planning on litigation, particularly appealing to the Supreme Court, to use an attorney. There are approximately 55,000 of them in Israel.

The District Court cited the Petach Tikveh Doggy DNA case and Angel vs. Berman. Also cited were the Adidas case. I found the legalese unnecessary and tiring. The cited cases were not really relevant and, in my opinion, are best forgotten.

We note that there is a distinction between copyright and Jewish Law in this matter. In Jewish Law, there is an obligation to credit sources, but copying of ideas and using them is not considered wrong or inappropriate. They are in the public domain automatically, but the authors deserve credit. In Copyright Law, crediting sources is not a legal requirement, but quoting a significant amount is an actionable.


Yaakov Shatz Semi-finalist of the the Israel Bible Quiz for Adults

December 5, 2013

Yaakov Shatz     BIBLE_2

Israel Patent Attorney and US Patent Agent, friend and neighbour, Yaakov Shatz, went through to the finals of the third Israel Bible Quiz for Adults on Tuesday. He was, however, knocked out in the penultimate round by a younger candidate, Menachem Shamshi, shown standing between the Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and the Minister for Education, Rabbi Shai Piron. Yaakov is a former Winner of the Israel Bible Quiz for Youth and of the IDF Bible Quiz.

If this was the IPKAT, I would note that Old Deuteronomy is an ancient, wise cat who has “lived many lives in succession. Yaakov is certainly a wise patent attorney.


Oramed Receives European Patent for Oral Delivery of Insulin

November 20, 2013


Oramed is an Israel company that is doing clinical trials for orally delivered insulin. This is a holy grail for diabetes sufferers who currently have to have regular injections which is unpleasant and can cause infection. For hemophiliacs with diabetes, injections are obviously particularly problematic.

Oramed has now received a European patent for their invention. See here. The patent in question was drafted by Dr Moshe Tritel who unfortunately for me, stayed with JMB, Davis Ben-David, when JMB Factor & Co. disbanded a couple of years ago. Oramed, of course, stayed with Dr Tritel.

Testing for insulin still requires pricking one’s thumb and extracting a drop of blood. One of my Israel clients, AD Integrity, has developed a non-invasive way of monitoring glucose content in blood.

These Israeli inventions are set to revolutionize the lives of the growing number of diabetes sufferers.

P C Teabags!

November 18, 2013


Patents in general and PCT applications in particular are often filed at the last minute causing stress. The need to meet tight deadlines threatens quality.

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We now share our secret with the profession: PCTeabags – a carefully blended mixture of plant extracts that, when infused, relaxes the IP practitioner, taling the stress out of protecting intellectual property assets.

Also good for treating stress symptoms caused by patent drafting, design and trademark registration and enforcement.

Send us your details and we will send you a box.


Israel Patent Application revived over three years after becoming abandoned

November 7, 2013


This decision relates to IL Patent No. 157563 to ICOS Corporation which became abandoned due to official communications being sent to a previous representative and not to the correct agent of record. The new agent, Luzzatto et Luzzatto, filed a request to correct the error in the patent record under Section 170 of the Law to show the case as not having been abandoned, and/or a request for an extension of the one year period for requesting a reconsideration hearing after an application has been abandoned under Sections 164 and 21a of the Israel Patent Law.


The application in question is a national phase entry of PCT/US/2002/006452, filed in March 2002. A Notice Prior to Examination was sent to the Agent of Record on 20 December 2006. A response to the Notice Prior to Examination was filed on 20 June 2007, and on 3 September 2007, a first Examination Report issued.

In November 2007, Luzzatto et Luzzatto (L&L) requested that the application be transferred to them for further prosecution, but the then Deputy Commissioner refused this prior to a POA from the applicant appointing L&L as agents of record. On 1 January 2008, L&L submitted a request for an Extension to respond to the substantive office action, to which they attached a photocopy of the signed Power of Attorney. A month later, L&L submitted a response and the original POA. Due to an error in the Israel Patent Office, the change of Agent of Record was not recorded as a new address of record, and a second Office Action was sent to the original address of record. In due course, a Notice of Imminent Abandonment was also sent to the original agent of record, followed, a month later by a notice of abandonment on 18 August 2009.

On 7 December 2011, L&L requested that the address of record be updated, which it was on 16 February 2012. On 8 November 2012, L&L requested that the notice of abandonment be withdrawn and that the second Office Action be forwarded to them to respond to. Due to the time that had passed, the senior examiner refused this request.

Applicant’s Claims

L&L essentially argued that they never received the office action or notice of abandonment, and should have, since they were the agent of record. Prior to December 2011, they were unaware that they weren’t receiving mail from the patent office, and thus their actions in November 2012 were within a year of first learning that something was wrong, and should be considered timely. The delay of 12 months was attributed to a combination of the Israel Patent Office’s activities to scan files into electronic documents, which resulted in the file originally not being available for inspection, and a further delay due to L&L moving offices (presumably this refers to their Jerusalem office being relocated).

The Law

In her ruling, Ms Jacqueline Bracha, the deputy commissioner cited Section 21 to the effect that subsequent to a Notice of Abandonment issuing, the applicant has a year to appeal the decision by requesting a hearing before the commissioner or deputy commissioner. Under Section 164, this and most other deadlines are extendible at the commissioner’s discretion subject to good cause being shown.

After accepting that she had the authority to revive the application, Ms Bracha saw fit to address the issue of correcting the records under Section 170 of the law. Here she considered the law allowed corrections where there are no other procedures, and in this case, this was inapplicable due to the existence of Section 21a. Furthermore, in contradistinction to IL 166280 Teva vs. Abbot biotechnology (cited by L&L as analogous), where a single mistake was promptly corrected, in this case, there were a number of mistakes that she attributed variously to the applicant and Applicant’s representative and to the Israel Patent Office, that resulted in the case being abandoned for over three years. Furthermore, Ms Bracha remained unconvinced that there was an error to be corrected in the application being considered abandoned, so she rejected the option of correcting the records under Section 170.

Turning to the revival option, citing Opposition IL 110548 Shmuel Sadovski vs. Hogla Kimberly Marketing LTD. Ms Bracha noted that regarding Revivals, the relevant considerations are the time passed and the underlying reasons for the delay. In this regard, Ms Bracha noted that the time passed not only provides an indication of the reasonableness of the Applicant’s behaviour, but also affects the likelihood of third parties relying on the case being abandoned. In this regard, it will be noted that the PCT application of which this is a national phase entry, published back in 2002.

Whilst not abrogating the partial responsibility of the Israel Patent Office, Ms Bracha considered the Agent of Record as being partially responsible for the application going abandoned. In this regard, she understands the regulation concerning each submission relating to one topic only as indicating that the applicant acted incorrectly in submitting a POA together with a substantive response and therefore shared responsibility with the Examiner who failed to forward the POA to the relevant department. Furthermore, neither applicant not agent inquired into the four years of delays from when the POA was filed until they discovered that something was wrong. She noted that the agent of record assumed that the ball was in the patent office’s court and didn’t track responses to POAs filed. In this regard, where a POA changing representative is dealt with, the patent office notifies both former and new representative.

The new representative received notice of change of representative in February 2012, and only 10 months later, and 11 months from learning that the case had gone abandoned, took action to revive. She noted that L&L could have acted more promptly. Indeed, even without receiving a copy of the file, the applicant could have made a request for reinstatement.

Nevertheless, in addition to the mistakes and lack of follow up of the agent of record, the patent office had also made mistakes, and she felt that the applicant had rights that would be forfeited if she failed to allow reinstatement. However, the public had rights as well and if an application is considered long abandoned, revival could discriminate against those who had assumed that the case was abandoned and made preparations to utilize the claimed invention.

In light of the above, Ms Bracha allowed the revival but granted a non-transferable license to third parties that had already acted to utilize the patent. Furthermore, the applicant is required to pay extension fees from a year after the file was closed until the request for revival was filed.

Decision of Ms J Bracha concerning revival of IL 157563, issued 21 October 2013


The courts have long accepted faxed POAs and copies of POAs, so one wonders why the Israel Patent Office insisted on an original in this case.

An obvious question that jumps to mind is why the previous agent of record did not see fit to forward any of the letters from the patent office to the client or to Luzzatto et Luzzatto, or indeed, to return to the patent office. Clearly, they considered themselves NOT the agent of record, but as the patent office saw otherwise, they appear to have had at least a moral and ethical duty to act. At present, the file wrapper is not available on the Israel Patent Office website, so I do not know who filed the original application and ignored the subsequent correspondence. Note, even when a client tell me that they are not interested in prosecuting an application, I forward the Office Actions and the Notice of Abandonment as a courtesy.

As far as allowing reviving is concerned, but not allowing the record to be corrected, Ms Bracha is being consistent with earlier decisions of hers, such as this one.

On behalf of a client, I have been trying to revive a patent application that was abandoned over three years prior to the request to revive being filed. I did not write the application, nor was I involved when it became abandoned. The case is before Ms Bracha now. Each case is, of course, different. Still it is comforting to know that the patent office does sometimes show flexibility with reviving cases that have been abandoned more than a year.


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