Israel IP 2013, a Quantitive Overview

June 17, 2014

 Israel Patent Report 2013

The Israel Patent Office has published its summary of 2013. Their focus is on their efficiency. I have culled and am reporting the information that I believe is of more value to IP practitioners. My interpretative comments are in italics.

To enjoy the graphs and the graphics - a hot air balloon lifting a paper car, and no-doubt signifying hot air, recycling, creativity, and fen-shui, or something, readers can access the original here. I think that this literary digest is more user-friendly. Each to his own.

PATENTS 

The number of patent applications in 2013 was 6184 which is down 9% from 6793 in 2012, and is the lowest number since 2003. Approximately 600 of these applications are Divisional Applications and 6 are patents-of-addition.

The Israel Patent Office notes that since 2012 there has been a 40% discount for local applicants having a turnover of less than 10 million Shekels, but fails to note that there was a massive jump in filing fees of about 40% back then. My take – the Shekel is very strong so Israel is a more expensive destination than some others.

The number of first filings in Israel is 889, which is also a record low, less than at any time in the past decade. It is possible, however, that more Israeli start-ups are first filing in the US, either as Provisionals or regular US applications since the US fees have been going down, and the dollar is weak.

The pendency period prior to examination starting has been dropping steadily and is now 28 months on average, with biotech being especially fast. This may be explained by the increase in Examiners due to the Israel Patent Office becoming an International Search Authority of the PCT, which required the IPO to employ at least 100 examiners.

Second office actions typically issue 5-6 months after a response is filed, which is similar to last year and rather better than in the past. 

On average, examination takes 2 to 27 months, with Biotech taking rather longer on average – 37 months.

The Israel Patent Office has issued 3698 patents in this period, which is more than for any other solar calendar year in the past decade except 2011. 

The number of PCT applications filed in Israel was 1199 which is up from 1113 in 2012, but still below 2011 levels.

658 out these (55%) filing in Israel, have taken advantage of the relatively low International Search Fees and elected Israel as the Search and Examination Authority. 321 selected the EPO and 220 selected the USPTO. 

The report claims that the total number of applications filed by Israelis has remained constant, but more are filed in Israel as opposed to in Geneva. I don’t thing this is true, but do accept that the service provided in Israel is at International levels, with 91% filing electronically. 

What is clear is that in both absolute numbers of originating countries and by Receiving Office, Israel ranks 17, and clearly has a smaller population than any of the countries that have more filings.

Israel is the second fastest receiving office at getting applications to WIPO, with 99.3 applications getting there in les than four weeks, only lagging behind Denmark. This is a fairly useless statistic for the Israeli inventor, but no doubt gratifying to Dr Michael Bart and his team. I have been presently surprised by the quality of Israel generated International Search Reports and have recommended them to clients. In the past the USPTO often failed to provide the International Search Report (ISR) in a timely manner, but they have got better and also better at searching, even occasionally finding relevant art in non-US patent literature. The US fees have dropped somewhat and they may be more popular.

Israel is proud of the speed of PCT examinations, with 90% being examined within 3 months, ahead of the US and EPO. Furthermore, they blame security related examinations being forwarded to the Ministry of Defence for clearance, for the remaining 10% which take 4-5 months to issue.

There is an interesting of table of where incoming patent applications originate, that shows both Paris Convention filings and PCT national phase entries. This is of value when planning overseas marketing strategy.

Lists of the more prolific local and international filers into Israel had few surprises.

Some 20% of patents are issuing by modified examination under Section 17c, relying on a foreign issued patent from one of a list of examining authorities. This number has been dropping steadily since 2010, and is below 2008 levels. 

Some 130 applications were examined out-of-turn by one or other acceleration mechanism. This is higher than in previous years and no doubt reflects the various fast lanes of the Patent Prosecuting Highway, since only 18 applications were considered ‘green’ and fast-tracked thereby 

Of the 3887 applications allowed, 32 were opposed. 27 oppositions were dropped by the opposer and 14 resulted in the applicant dropping the case. Of the four patent oppositions that went full term to decisions, 2 applications were allowed to issue and two were rejected, with the ruled on oppositions taking an average of just over 4 years to be resolved.

Five applications to cancel issued patents were filed with the patent office. 21 final rejections were appealed. 9 requests for patent term extensions were filed and 4 were granted. 41 lapsed patent requests were considered and there are 8 pending decisions for employee inventor compensation. 

In absolute terms, there are fewer applications filed in Israel than in South Africa, New Zealand or Malaysia. In terms of patents per gross national product, Israel lags behind Korea, Japan, USA and most of Europe. 

When normalized for the size of population, Israel remains surprisingly attractive. Israel remains a must-file country for pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, organic fine chemistry (whatever that means) and medical technology. It holds its own in computing. Interestingly, Israel is also noticeable as originating PCT applications for medical technology and pharma, so Israel’s innovative companies are no less significant than the Israeli generic suppliers.

DESIGNS

The number of design applications was 1353 which is the lowest for a decade. 492 of these come from Israel. Of the 861 foreign cases, the US is the most prolific filer, followed by Brazil (104 applications, mostly Stern Jewelry), Europe, Korea, Japan and China.

TRDEMARKS

There were 9580 trademark applications into Israel in 2013. This number is less than 2006 to 2008 but higher than the other years of the last decade. Part of the drop is due to the introduction of multi-class applications, since there is an overall growth in the number of classes being filed in. Multi-class filings and the fact that of the 9580 applications, some 4930 were Madrid Protocol applications, implies less work and income for Israel trademark attorneys in basic filing. There are, however, some 176,978 issued trademarks in force, that need renewing. (Costa Rica has 183,226, and I suspect a better mark to attorney ratio).

As of the end of 2013, there were 20 competing mark cases, 98 trademark oppositions, 14 single party appeals and 40 cancellation or registry correction cases. Overall, the Israel Patent Authority has managed to resolve more of these than have been initiated.

Based on WIPO statistics, Israel ranks 46 in terms of trademark originators, behind Algeria, Kazakhstan, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Azerbaijan. Hoewever, Israel is only 19th in terms of popularity as a destination under Madrid.


World IP Day Celebration in Jerusalem

April 22, 2014

World IP Day

Tomorrow, 23rd April 2014 is designated by the United Nations as World IP Day.

The Israel Patent Office is hosting an evening at the Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem, where the two students who’ve won the annual IP Essay competition will receive their prizes and Nobel Laureate and self-declared candidate for Israel President, Professor Dan Shackman will be speaking on “Technology Innovation for a Blossoming World of Peace”.

There will also be a video linkup with Francis Gurry, head of WIPO.

An invitation and more details are available הזמנה לציבור יום הקניין הרוחני .

COMMENT

Does a groundbreaking discovery concerning quasi-penta-symmetry in crystals qualify one to be a national president? I note that Haim Weizman was less than happy with being booted upstairs and away from the action by Ben Gurion, and that Albert Einstein had the rare good sense to refuse the presidency (he was a great physicist, but his politics were lousy). Perhaps of more interest than the titled lecture would be a presentation by Professor Shackman as to why the Knesset members should vote for him as President.

 


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.

COMMENT

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.


Super Dooper Patent Prosecution Highway

January 5, 2014

test pilot

Israel and 17 other examining authorities have now set up a Global Patent Prosecution Highway.

The 17 offices involved in the GPPH pilot are IP Australia (IP Australia), Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), Danish Patent and Trademark Office (DKPTO), Hungarian intellectual property office (HIPO), Icelandic Patent Office (ELS), Israel Patent Office (ILPO), Japan Patent Office (JPO), Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), National Board of Patents and Registration of Finland (NBPR), Nordic Patent Institute (NPI), Norwegian Industrial Property Office (NIPO), Portuguese Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property (ROSPATENT), Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (SPTO), Swedish patent and registration office (PRV), United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (IPO), and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). 

An application first examined in one, may, if at least one claim is found to be novel and inventive, be used to accelerate Examination in other pilot jurisdictions.

COMMENT

I suspect that with just about everything being fast-tracked, the system will probably break down. One wonders if a pile up on the Worldwide Superhighway could result in everything grinding to a halt. Still, there are no human test pilots, so no harm done.

The PCT, was, of course, supposed to achieve this. If, instead of ignoring PCT search reports, the various national phase jurisdictions would consider their findings, I suspect that backlogs could have been dealt with years ago.


USPTO offering reduced price searches for PCT applications filed by small and micro-entities

December 22, 2013

pct-monster

As of 1 January 2013, the USPTO will be offering reduced price searches for PCT applications filed by small and micro-entities. The cost of the International Search Report will be  $2080 for regular entities, $1040 for small entities and $520 for micro-entities.

The current fee charged by the Israel Patent Office for International Search Reports is NIS 3500 which is currently slightly less than the US fee for small entities, but the dollar is sliding against the Shekel and the Israel patent office traditional updates its fees on 1st January and on 1st June so the fee for regular entities is cheaper in Israel, for small entities is the same in both jurisdictions and for micro-entities is cheaper in the United States. It is not unlikely that the Israel Patent Office and other patent offices will also offer a ISR fees on a sliding scale.

Note: the choice of examination authority can effect using the patent processing highway (PPH) and also the cost of national phase entry in both Israel and the US, so it is advised to consult with a competent patent attorney before first filing a provisional or regular application in the US or a regular filing in Israel,  and which route to take for the PCT, or indeed, whether to use the PCT system at all.

 

 

 


Should Israel Join the Hague System for the Registration of International Designs?

October 17, 2013

Hague

As part of it’s preparations for bringing a new Israel Design Law to the Knesset for debate, the Israel Ministry of Justice has called for position papers regarding Israel joining the Hague System for the Registration of International Designs.

The Call for Papers may be found here. A description of the Hague System for the Registration of International Designs may be found here. A list of the 61 member states may be found here.

COMMENT

I suspect that any practitioners handling significant incoming design registration work will be against this. Innovative Israeli industrialists may see the possibility of cost effective, wide registration their designs as attractive. The increased possibility of being sued for infringing designs from abroad  is no doubt a consideration of importance to manufacturers and importers of copycat products. I don’t have strong interests or feelings one way or the other. I suspect that in general, Israel should join international conventions, treaties and mechanism, with the exception of acknowledging the authority of the International Criminal Court in Hague, which would be bad move.

I suspect that the response to the Call for Papers will be limited, but I applaud the attempt.


So who reads this blog?

July 9, 2013

The following list shows the number of hits per jurisdiction over the past 12 months:

Country Views
United States FlagUnited States 15,849
Israel FlagIsrael 12,212
United Kingdom FlagUnited Kingdom 4,830
India FlagIndia 1,882
Germany FlagGermany 1,496
Canada FlagCanada 1,487
France FlagFrance 1,003
Australia FlagAustralia 808
Netherlands FlagNetherlands 655
Mexico FlagMexico 575
Indonesia FlagIndonesia 566
Japan FlagJapan 560
Hong Kong FlagHong Kong 553
Spain FlagSpain 520
Italy FlagItaly 510
Turkey FlagTurkey 448
Sweden FlagSweden 433
Korea, Republic of FlagRepublic of Korea 416
Brazil FlagBrazil 391
Malaysia FlagMalaysia 369
Philippines FlagPhilippines 333
Ireland FlagIreland 291
Taiwan, Province of China FlagTaiwan 283
Norway FlagNorway 280
Belgium FlagBelgium 271
South Africa FlagSouth Africa 271
Singapore FlagSingapore 268
Poland FlagPoland 263
Thailand FlagThailand 248
Switzerland FlagSwitzerland 240
Russian Federation FlagRussian Federation 224
Egypt FlagEgypt 201
United Arab Emirates FlagUnited Arab Emirates 197
Denmark FlagDenmark 195
Pakistan FlagPakistan 184
Bulgaria FlagBulgaria 181
Hungary FlagHungary 180
Saudi Arabia FlagSaudi Arabia 178
New Zealand FlagNew Zealand 163
Palestinian Territory, Occupied FlagPalestinian Territory, Occupied 161
Romania FlagRomania 157
Czech Republic FlagCzech Republic 149
Finland FlagFinland 143
Argentina FlagArgentina 143
Portugal FlagPortugal 140
Colombia FlagColombia 133
Ukraine FlagUkraine 130
Albania FlagAlbania 122
Slovakia FlagSlovakia 117
Viet Nam FlagViet Nam 112
Greece FlagGreece 108
Serbia FlagSerbia 100
Bangladesh FlagBangladesh 95
Croatia FlagCroatia 90
Austria FlagAustria 85
Chile FlagChile 76
Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of FlagMacedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic 73
Sri Lanka FlagSri Lanka 70
Slovenia FlagSlovenia 68
Lithuania FlagLithuania 64
Nigeria FlagNigeria 64
Malta FlagMalta 62
Peru FlagPeru 59
Iceland FlagIceland 55
Jordan FlagJordan 50
Algeria FlagAlgeria 50
Cyprus FlagCyprus 48
Iraq FlagIraq 47
Georgia FlagGeorgia 43
Lebanon FlagLebanon 43
Estonia FlagEstonia 42
Puerto Rico FlagPuerto Rico 41
Kuwait FlagKuwait 40
Ecuador FlagEcuador 37
Bahrain FlagBahrain 37
Mauritius FlagMauritius 36
Morocco FlagMorocco 35
Latvia FlagLatvia 35
Kenya FlagKenya 34
Bosnia and Herzegovina FlagBosnia and Herzegovina 33
Costa Rica FlagCosta Rica 31
Tunisia FlagTunisia 31
Venezuela FlagVenezuela 29
Qatar FlagQatar 29
Oman FlagOman 28
Belarus FlagBelarus 27
Jamaica FlagJamaica 26
Dominican Republic FlagDominican Republic 26
Uruguay FlagUruguay 25
Ethiopia FlagEthiopia 24
Myanmar FlagMyanmar 23
China FlagChina 23
Honduras FlagHonduras 23
Nepal FlagNepal 23
Panama FlagPanama 22
Uganda FlagUganda 22
Luxembourg FlagLuxembourg 21
Trinidad and Tobago FlagTrinidad and Tobago 21
Guatemala FlagGuatemala 20
Senegal FlagSenegal 19
Moldova, Republic of FlagMoldova 18
Barbados FlagBarbados 17
Yemen FlagYemen 16
Jersey FlagJersey 15
Montenegro FlagMontenegro 14
Ghana FlagGhana 14
Brunei Darussalam FlagBrunei Darussalam 14
Bolivia FlagBolivia 13
Bahamas FlagBahamas 13
Paraguay FlagParaguay 13
Mongolia FlagMongolia 13
El Salvador FlagEl Salvador 12
Tanzania, United Republic of FlagUnited Republic of Tanzania 11
Armenia FlagArmenia 11
Cambodia FlagCambodia 10
Botswana FlagBotswana 10
Afghanistan FlagAfghanistan 10
Macao FlagMacao 9
Azerbaijan FlagAzerbaijan 8
Libya FlagLibya 8
Maldives FlagMaldives 7
Faroe Islands FlagFaroe Islands 7
Fiji FlagFiji 7
Lao People's Democratic Republic FlagLao People’s Democratic Republic 7
Sudan FlagSudan 6
Guernsey FlagGuernsey 6
Rwanda FlagRwanda 6
Haiti FlagHaiti 5
Nicaragua FlagNicaragua 5
Zambia FlagZambia 5
Côte d'Ivoire FlagCôte d’Ivoire 5
Isle of Man FlagIsle of Man 5
Guam FlagGuam 4
Namibia FlagNamibia 4
Bhutan FlagBhutan 4
Cameroon FlagCameroon 3
Guyana FlagGuyana 3
Saint Kitts and Nevis FlagSaint Kitts and Nevis 3
Gibraltar FlagGibraltar 3
Antigua and Barbuda FlagAntigua and Barbuda 2
Greenland FlagGreenland 2
Lesotho FlagLesotho 2
Aruba FlagAruba 2
Uzbekistan FlagUzbekistan 2
Seychelles FlagSeychelles 2
Anguilla FlagAnguilla 2
Zimbabwe FlagZimbabwe 2
French Guiana FlagFrench Guiana 2
Saint Lucia FlagSaint Lucia 2
Kazakhstan FlagKazakhstan 2
Bermuda FlagBermuda 1
Malawi FlagMalawi 1
Mozambique FlagMozambique 1
Guadeloupe FlagGuadeloupe 1
Monaco FlagMonaco 1
Grenada FlagGrenada 1
Eritrea FlagEritrea 1
Réunion FlagRéunion 1
Micronesia, Federated States of FlagMicronesia, Federated States of 1
Palau FlagPalau 1
Cayman Islands FlagCayman Islands 1
New Caledonia FlagNew Caledonia 1
Belize FlagBelize 1
Suriname FlagSuriname 1
Congo, the Democratic Republic of the FlagDemocratic Republic of the Congo 1
Swaziland FlagSwaziland 1
Cape Verde FlagCape Verde

What’s nice about this, is that I have readers in more countries than the number of countries that Israel has diplomatic relations with!

Also, we have more readers in more jurisdictions than are members of the PCT. Go figure!

I wonder if the readers in the Palestinian territories (0ccupied) include any of the patent attorneys living in Tekoa, Ofra and Bet El, or do I have readers in Ramallah?


Israel Commissioner Issues Policy Decision Regarding Trademark Reinstatements

June 27, 2013

RIPThe Israel Commissioner of Patents & Trademarks, Assa Kling, has lumped three separate appeals to reinstate lapsed trademarks into a single decision.

The marks, 145354 and 145355 “Zico”,  157657 and 157658 “גודB” and 75966 “Fix” all lapsed for more than 12 months. The Commissioner has ruled that the law always gave six months grace period, and was amended when Israel joined the Madrid Protocol, to provide a further six months. In so doing, the legislative has expressed a view that the period for reinstatement is a year. Although the Commissioner has the discretion to reinstate after longer periods, this authority should only be sued in extreme circumstances.

In all three cases, the Israel Patent and Trademark Office sent reminder letters to the address of record. In one case, the mark holder had moved but hadn’t informed the Israel Patent and Trademark Office. In the other cases, no adequate explanation was given.

The commissioner ruled not to reinstate any of the marks.

COMMENT

I approve of lumping all three decisions together. There were a record number of decisions that published this past month and I am behind in my reporting! More seriously, by the commissioner himself ruling on three separate cases in a single decision, we have some guidelines that indicate policy. The mark owners can, of course, refile their applications, and the original decision to grant the marks is a good (but not guaranteed) indication that they will be considered allowable.

We note that the Commissioner did address the specifics of each case in the joint decision. I will not follow suit, as they are not particularly interesting and it’s past my bedtime…


Alternative Dispute Resolution

June 11, 2013

ADR logomore ADR

I’ve just been to a most enjoyable, informative and stimulating one day mini-conference on 6 June 2013, on the topic of Alternative Dispute Resolution that was hosted by the Hebrew University, in Bet Mayersdorf, on their Mount Scopus campus. The event was cosponsored by WIPO and the Israel Patent Office.

The conference was organized by Dr Guy Pessach, and kicked off with welcome remarks from Professor Yuval Shany, the Dean of the Law Faculty.

asa kling (cropped)The Commissioner, Assa Kling, then spoke. He rather confusingly kept relating to the Patent Office, which seemed a little unfair after all the effort exerted by his predecessor to change the name of the the Israel Patent Office to Israel Patent Agency. Then again, it makes me feel more comfortable since I sometimes make the same mistake in this blog!

We note that both Professor Shany and Dr Pessach were comfortably informal in shirt sleeves, whereas the Commissioner, Assa Kling, wore a suit and tie. His deputy, Ms Jaqueline Bracha and the third arbitrator at the patent office, Ms Yaara Shoshani Caspi both were black pants-suits. I am not sure if the formal dress adopted by the arbitrators of the patent office was indicative of their elevated statuses, or whether academics on their home ground are generally more comfortable.  In shabby contrast to the senior patent office staff, the two male stajers were looking scruffier than even by my standards, wearing rugby shirts, jeans and three days of stubble, so there doesn’t seem to be a patent office uniform, per se.

I’d never actually met the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Jaqueline Bracha before. I found myself sitting next to her, and when the commissioner, Assa Kling, went up to give his words of welcome, quipped that he was going to speak in Klingon. She giggled. When she later swapped smart phone messages with the Commissioner, realized my indiscretion.

wichard.jpg_1271692375 (2)The first keynote lecture was given by Mr Johannes Christian Wichard, the Deputy Director General of the Global Issues Sector of WIPO. Mr Wichard gave a very interesting overview of WIPO’s mediation and arbitration mechanisms. He wowed the audience with impressive statistics concerning the number of domain name conflicts WIPO manages to resolve, and then spoke in more detail about what, to me, was the more interesting topic of patent dispute resolution by mediation and arbitration, giving real life examples, but with names of parties withheld, and the costs involved. Of course the costs to WIPO and the mediator are NOT the full costs, as generally the parties are represented by legal counsel.  Nevertheless, the talk provided food for thought as an alternative approach to solving conflicts, particularly where the parties are involved in an ongoing relationship, such as where a patent dispute arises between a supplier and the customer.

Dan Or-HofAfter a coffee break, in which food for thought was discussed over danish pastries and a fruit platter, Adv. Dan Or-Hof of PCZL gave a comprehensive review of the Domain Name Dispute Resolution before the organization that administers domain names in Israel. The speed and efficiency of the system seems admirable, with the full procedure taking less than two months. Nevertheless, it appears that ICCOS only hears about 4 cases a year.

I was somewhat surprised that someone from PCZL (Pearl Cohen Zedek Latzer) would advocate alternative dispute resolution. I have a personal dispute with that law office since I was not paid for the work I performed in good faith for their clients during the period I worked there at the beginning of last year. My several and various requests for some sort of arbitration or mediation have been ignored, as have my requests for an explanation of their behaviour. No doubt Mark Cohen – the partner I was working under – and Zeev Pearl have some counter-claims against me, but I don’t know what they are, so cannot address them. Pearl has threatened me not to sue, but doesn’t really leave me much choice. If the Israel Association of Patent Attorneys was more active, perhaps they could arbitrate or mediate in cases like this. As it is, I have no option but to go to court, which will presumably end up more costly for both sides.

The next lecture was given by Adv. Ms Yaara Shoshani-Caspi, a judicial officer of the patent office who spoke about whether mediation or arbitration by the patent office adjudicators could supplement the formal in partes opposition and cancellation procedures. After presenting some background and statistics, she made some very interesting observations and finished with reference to UK Patent Office practice, where mediation and arbitration is more established.

Adv. Shoshani-Caspi preceded here substantive comments with a disclaimer that the views expressed were hers alone, and not representative of the patent office. The conference was conducted in English, and Ms Caspi therefore chose to read her presentation, which she read eloquently and confidently. Nevertheless, the fact that it was a read speech gave it a feeling of it being an official position paper, which perhaps, a more informal slide based presentation would have avoided.  Apart from guest speaker Johannes Christian Wichard, who could have been given the paper to read himself, I think every one else present would have been at least as comfortable listening to the talk in Hebrew.  After the presentation, the commissioner reiterated that the views expressed by Ms Shoshani-Caspi were hers alone and did not reflect patent office policy. This was particularly the case since there was no legal basis for the patent office to meet the parties early on, less formally, to try to determine the actual points of contention and to resolve them more efficiently. We note that he seems less cavalier than his predecessor with regard to making the system more efficient by innovative practices not supported by the regulations.  Hearing the statistics regarding the number of cases the three patent office adjudicators manage each year, I was impressed with their efficiency and workload. I sometimes disagree with the odd decisions, but it is usually a question of nuance.

The fact that Ms Shoshani-Caspi read her talk made it a little more difficult to concentrate, but we note that the audience did seem very attentive. Being easily distracted I noted how much luxurious hair she had, hanging loosely around her face. Whereas she had let her hair down, this contrasted nicely with the distinguishingly balding commissioner who seemed more to be let down by his hair.

I asked Dr Guy Pessach if the lunch was for all participants or just speakers. He said that they were catering for 20, and kindly invited me along. I thus found myself lunching with the opposition, sitting between Commissioner Kling and Ms Shoshani-Caspi, with Deputy Commissioner Jaqueline Bracha and the head of the trademark department Ms Anat Levy sitting opposite.  I would have quite happily paid for my lunch, but leaving Bet Meyersdorf to find a canteen and to find my way back through the rat’s maze of the Mount Scopus campus is daunting. (I did my PhD on the architecturally less interesting but more user friendly Givat Ram campus).  I note that the number of participants in the morning session significantly outnumbered those who returned for the afternoon, and suspect that the catering arrangements contributed to this. The fact that the afternoon session was more copyright and less patent oriented, may, also have resulted in some of the patent attorneys leaving early. Perhaps the solution is to provide a lunch for all participants, for a reasonable fee, which the cost per head in universities and the like, is generally reasonably from my experience organizing similar events, but to provide free tickets to speakers and VIPs?

In the afternoon there were two presentations on collecting societies and alternative dispute resolution.

yorik_ben_david_bThe first speaker,  Mr Yorik Ben David (No relation to my former partner, Jeremy M Ben-David, as far as I know) is the CEO of Israel Copyright Collecting Society, ACUM, who started his presentation by informing us that he’d just flown in from Washington via New York, was jet-lagged, and therefore apologized in advance if he didn’t recognize any of the somewhat familiar faces in the audience. Alas, Poor Yorik, he knew them well…

It seems that AKUM’s collection strategy is to first invite people to pay a reasonable license, then threaten them, then invite them to arbitration and only as a last resort, to sue. About a decade ago whilst I was working for Seligsohn and Gabrieli, I remember that the firm used to sue copyright infringers left, right and center on behalf of the collecting society, and apparently the change of strategy is due to AKUM being recognized as a monopoly, following their bullying tactics against the Israeli radio station Galei Zahal.

Mr Ben David also described AKUM’s internal arbitration mechanism for dealing with cases of alleged plagiarism, seen as coming under copyright law, and arbitrated by retired Supreme Court Justice Theodore Ohr. He noted that the fee structure used was based on that of the courts – which seemed a little like plagiarism to this blogger…

Reuven BeharAdv. Reuven Behar, senior partner of Fischer, Behar, Chen Weil Orion & Co. who had apparently represented Cable provider HOT against AKUM, gave an alternative perspective.  He noted that there was a proliferation of rights collecting societies, some of whom had broken away from others, but all wanted a bigger piece of the pie. He was critical that royalty calculations were generally made on the basis of income rather than profit. We were impressed with Adv. Behar’s presentation, which was fluent and interesting. We were further impressed that, despite him being an attorney, and in flagrant copyright infringement, Adv. Behar was dressed identically to Mr Ben-David, wearing a blue button down shirt over a white teeshirt. It seems that in the interest of comfortableness,  Adv. Behar is willing to forgo the comfort blanket of black suit and tie that other attorneys seem to require as a badge of their profession.

Dr Orna RabinowichDr Orna Rabinovich-Einy of Haifa University gave the final lecture. Dr Pessach introduced her as Israel’s leading expert on Alternative Dispute Resolution. Her presentation was very fluent, very animated and very informative. She spoke a lot with her hands and didn’t use slides. The talk was peppered with references to various ADR theorists and models. I didn’t have the background to follow everything she was saying, at the pace she was saying it, and suspect that that was true of others in the audience as well. I was convinced that she was indeed at least one of the leading experts and a competent and experienced lecturer. I would have preferred ideas to be developed a little more. Particularly as the talk was after lunch and to the end of a fairly heavy program.

Alternative Dispute Resolution is becoming more popular. The IP Watchdog has just posted an article on the topic. See here 

guy pessachDr Pessach is to be congratulated for organizing a thought provoking and stimulating conference. It is a shame that the turnout was a little low, and we suspect that poor publicity and generally late announcing of the event, was a contributory factor to this. There have also been three other conferences in as many weeks, Bar-Ilan and Colb (which I missed as I was in China but which apparently was also poorly attended), Shaarei Mishpat + patent office on design law, and Kim Lindy’s best practices, which was aimed mostly at in-house counsel, who one would have thought would be an ideal audience for today’s proceedings. Maybe cosponsoring with LES, AIPPI or IPR would be a good way to advertise the event a little more widely?


Michael Ophir Z”L

December 16, 2012

Israeli_flag_at_half_staff (1)Former Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, Michael Ophir passed away today. The funeral will leave tomorrow at 1 PM from the Sanhedria Funeral House.

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.


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