We are pleased to report that the Israel Patent Office has fulfilled the requirements and obtained ISO Certification for its patent prosecution process.
We congratulate the Israel Patent Authority, the Commissioner, Dr. Meir Noam, and also the patent office ombudsman Moshe Cohen who was heavily involved in this initiative.
Broadly speaking, ISO is not a certificate of quality, but rather a management standard. This is the official abstract:
ISO 9001:2008 specifies requirements for a quality management system where an organization
- needs to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide product that meets customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements, and
- aims to enhance customer satisfaction through the effective application of the system, including processes for continual improvement of the system and the assurance of conformity to customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.
All requirements of ISO 9001:2008 are generic and are intended to be applicable to all organizations, regardless of type, size and product provided.
Where any requirement(s) of ISO 9001:2008 cannot be applied due to the nature of an organization and its product, this can be considered for exclusion.
Where exclusions are made, claims of conformity to ISO 9001:2008 are not acceptable unless these exclusions are limited to requirements within Clause 7, and such exclusions do not affect the organization’s ability, or responsibility, to provide product that meets customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.
In other words, the certification says nothing about the quality of the examination in terms of whether prior art is found by the examiner, or whether an issued patent relates to an invention that is truly novel or inventive.
It does, however, serve as an indication that there are standardized procedures in place. What this means is that things should flow more smoothly, less patent applications should get lost, etc. This coupled with Israel being recognized as an International Search Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examination Authority (IPEA) does imply that applicants will get a quality examination to consistent standards with less arbitrariness.
Israel being invited by the US to join the patenting superhighway is one indication of this additional value added. Indeed we suggest that the Israel Patent Office should consider providing outsourcing services to other patent offices. The US is now looking to recruit an additional 1000 examiners a year to cope with their backlog. Outsourcing and offshoring could be the answer.
The ISO Certification covers patent prosecution only, but there are plans to widen this to other departments such as designs and trademarks as well.