When Sazka’s patent application number 163671 was opposed by Partner, Cellcom, Pelephone (Israel’s three mobile phone carriers) and by Mifal HaPayis (the Israel National Lottery), the attorneys for Sazka, S.T. Colb & Partners, successfully managed to persuade the Israel Patent Office to relieve them of their representation and fudicial duty, since the applicant was unresponsive and contact was lost. A byproduct of lack of local representation is that there is no local address of record and so the case was closed.
Sazka did however, come out of the woodwork and requested that the case be reopened, and that they be allowed to respond tot he opposition. Since Israel Law prefers issues to be resolved substantively rather than bureaucratically, the Deputy Commissioner of Patents allowed the case to be reopened on condition that the applicant post NIS 150,000 bond for each of the four opposers, to guarantee awarded legal costs if any, since there was a proven problem with finding the applicant, and the opposers, if successful, deserved to receive costs. A more modest NIS 5000 costs were awarded to each opposer for the reinstatement.
This seems a neat decision. However, in the past, the Israel Patent Office has generally refrained from awarding legal costs of this magnitude. It is not clear whether, if bond is posted and the case continues, costs of this magnitude can be expected by the victor. We wait to see.