Filing Evidence in English In Oppositions Proceedings at the Israel Patent Office

Jonathan Schreiber filed Israel trademark Number 222275 for Metabolin, a product to assist in dieting by slowing the metabolic rate, which, when it was allowed, published for opposition purposes and Merk KGaA, represented by Gilat Bereket & Partners of the Reinhold Cohen group, filed an opposition.

The evidentiary Declaration submitted by Merk, ran to over 150 pages, all in English. The applicant, Mr Schreiber, who apparently is acting without representation, requested that this be translated into Hebrew and Ms Yaara Shoshani Caspi ordered that Merk do this, based on applicant’s claim that he didn’t understand English.

Merk / Gilat Bareket appealed this decision. they argued that they weren’t given an opportunity to oppose Schreiber’s request, in contravention of Circular M.N. 79 and of natural law, and should have had 20 days to respond. Substantively they argued that Schreiber was the sole shareholder of Anderson Medical LTD, whose website included various languages including English, and thus concluded that he understood the language. Furthermore, by providing affidavits in English, the witness would know what he was testifying and third parties would be able to access the material.

Ms Caspi Shoshani rejected the argument that the website indicated that Schreiber knew English, understanding that this merely indicated that he could have material translated at his expense. Substantively however, evidence should be filed in Hebrew or Arabic, but if both sides agreed to English being used, that was acceptable. There was no reason why applicant should bear the costs of translation.

Consequently Schreiber was in his rights to have documents translated into English. She suggested that if Merk were prepared to focus the discussion on relevant passages only, they could have these translated and forgo translating the full 150+ pages.

She noted that were she to come to the understanding that Schreiber did in fact have a good command over English language during the hearing or from his submissions, she would award damages to Merk, regardless of the final ruling.


I have no idea what is in the 150 pages, but can well believe that for an Israeli, this quantity of material in English is tiring. One wonders if it is necessary and it appears that Shoshani Caspi had her doubts as well.

There is an unfortunate practice, sometimes employed by litigants, of burying the opposing party in enormous quantities of material.  Legal Counsel are often not responsible, since if their client provides large quantities of evidence, they would generally file all of it as failing to do so could be construed as malpractice. Consequently costs escalate.

From the way he writes his name in English in the trademark application and from the English description which is clearly a literal word for word translation from Hebrew into English of the goods covered by the mark, I think it is self-evident that Yonatan Shreiber is not able to easily review 150 pages of material in English.

2 Responses to Filing Evidence in English In Oppositions Proceedings at the Israel Patent Office

  1. yisrael aharon says:

    What would happen if one of the sides would not understand Hebrew well enough to be able to sift through 150 pages?

    • I don’t think one can object to the other party submitting written evidence in a law suit in the official language of the country.

      However, if the judge considers the papers are excessive and irrelevant, can take that into accounts in the costs eventually awarded.

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