How many lawyers does it take to cross examine a witness?

This isn’t a joke. Rafa Laboratories LTD. opposed patent number 129724 to Takeda Chemical Industries.

The then Deputy Commissioner allowed the applicant to cross-examine someone in Slovenia at the opposer’s expense.

The applicant, represented by S. T. Colb, presented the opposer with an itemized bill for NIS 76,449.70, for first class flights for two attorneys from Israel, Takeda’s Head of IP from the UK, and a further representative from Japan. In addition to the four first class tickets, the applicant incurred three night’s stay in Ljubljana and hired the services of a local lawyer.

The opposer thought that three representatives was quite adequate, and that they could fly tourist class. They considered both the Japanese representative and the local lawyer to be unnecessary, also the first night in Ljubljana, which was a full day before the evidence taking, to be excessive. They redid the maths assuming that business class travel was twice as expensive as tourist class, and paid NIS 25,398.41.

In response, Colb argued that the lawyers always travels first class and the first day was required to hold a meeting between the various lawyers, and doing this in Ljubljana was the cheapest option.

The present decision examines the claims of both sides and rules on what are reasonable costs.

The Decision

Ms Yaara Caspi Shoshani considers it the prerogative of the applicant to decide how many lawyers to send and whether the best person is to come from Japan or elsewhere, so found four representatives acceptable. Furthermore, she had no problem with the applicant engaging a local attorney as the examination had to be performed in accordance with local civil procedure. However, regardless of whether the attorneys in question generally travel business or tourist class, she did not see why the opposer should pay for the luxury of business class. As to the first night in the hotel, she accepted that meeting in Ljubljana was cost-effective for the applicant but did not see why the opposer should pay for the expenses incurred by the applicant in preliminary meetings.

She halved the fee asked for on behalf of the Japanese representative, added a taxi fare and a night in Paris for him (no direct flights), converted everything into New Israel Shekels at the exchange rate at the time of the hearing and came to the conclusion that a further NIS 29,935.35 was in order.

The main case-law she based her reasoning on, was Bagatz 891/05 Tnuva vs. Israel Department of trade and Industry,  P. D.  S(1) 600.

The Ruling: Costs re Takeda Chemical Industries vs. Rafa Laboratories Concerning Israel Patent No. 129724, 20 September 2011.


IL 129724 relates to crystaline structures of Indazole.

I would recomend any attorney having reason to go to Ljubliana to visit Bled. It’s stunningly beautiful and seems a pefect backdrop for a business picnic. I can understand why Rafa feel bled by this, but quite frankly the sums of money to be made if a commercially significant pharmaceutical patent is successfully opposed are very significant.

Unfortunately, when I went with wife and kids for a week’s self catering holiday in Slovenia, we went tourist class and I couldn’t write it off as a business expense. Still it’s nice to know that one day I may need to go there on IP related business.

Categories: drugs, Intellectual Property, IPO, Israel, Israel IP, Israel Patent Office, Israel Patent Office Rulings, opposition, pharmaceuticals, pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology

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