According to Section 143 of the Israel Patent Law, potential candidates have the right to be examined by a committee that does not include more than one licensed patent attorney. The law is as follows:
143. (a) If a person wishes to be registered in the Register of Patent Attorneys, then he must pass an examination in the prescribed manner in order to prove that he has an appropriate knowledge of the Law of patents, designs and trade marks of Israel and in foreign countries and of other relevant enactments, all as prescribed, and that he has command of the Hebrew language and of at least one other language required for his work, as prescribed.
(b) The examination shall be conducted by two or three examiners, among them not more than one patent attorney, and in each case they shall be selected by the Minister of Justice – or by a person appointed by him for that purpose – from a panel of examiners determined by the Minister.
(c) The Minister of Justice may exempt categories of candidates from the examination if it can be proved in some other prescribed manner that they possess the knowledge required in an examination under subsection (a).
The rationale for the committee not including more than one patent attorney is not given. I suspect that it is that licensed attorneys have a vested interest in keeping the profession exclusive. Particularly in the current market where there is less work than one would like. Currently there are a mere 340 licensed patent attorneys, and only patent attorneys or attorneys-at-law may offer IP related services to the public.
The Basic Law of Freedom of Occupation 1980 indicates that cartel considerations should not prevent qualified people from entering the profession. It appears that the Minister of Justice can exempt candidates from the exam, but wannabee patent attorneys are entitled, by law, to be examined by a committee that does not include more than one patent attorney.
It has reached my notice that in the recent sitting, some candidates were examined by a committee that included, in addition to Adv. Ran Fogel, two patent attorneys: Cila Hess Milotin and Yossi Barkai.
It appears that this committee, which contravenes Section 143 of the Law, is illegal. The decision of the committee is therefore void and apparently candidates who failed the Exam have a right to immediate re-examination by a judicially competent committee.
This is not to be construed as a criticism of the judges themselves who I assume are individually competent. The triumvate isn’t.
To be accurate, there is a minor, intrinsic criticism: the ordinances list the material that the candidate is supposed to be familiar with. This includes the Israel Patent Law. The fact that none of the committee members noted that the committee was illegally composed somewhat disturbing. It is black and white law, after all.