On 8th December 2011, the Israel Knesset passed an amendment to the Israel Patent Law 1967.
There appear to be two changes, the first cosmetic and the second substantive.
Firstly, all references to the Israel Patent Office “משרד הפטנטים” or uses of the word “לישכה” meaning ‘office’ are amended to “רשות הפטנטים” and “רשות” , i.e. Patent Agency and Agency.
More substantively, there is an amendment to reflect that the Israel Patent Office, whoops, Agency will henceforth provide PCT style International Search Report compliant search reports (ISRs) and will also be able to provide International Search Reports for applications received by the Israel Receiving Office of the PCT, where one or more inventor or applicant is an Israeli Citizen or corporation, and also for citizens or corporations of other countries having a relationship and appearing in an appropriate appendix to the Law, to be updated from time to time.
The Israel Patent Office (it’s OK, I can still use the old name until 8 January 2012 when the amendment comes into force) has been styling itself Israel Patent Agency for a while now, but this is now enshrined in the Law. There don’t seem to be punishments for people who forget, but I will do my best to comply.
Regarding the Searches, there are a few questions that require clarifying and no doubt the Commissioner of Patents will issue a Circular in due course:
- Can Israel applicants still elect the USPTO or EPO to search their applications as they can at present?
- What happens if applications are filed at the International Receiving Office in Geneva? – at present, this does not affect the authorized International Search Authorities, but maybe this will change.
- How much will an Israel PCT search cost?
- When will this come into effect – not the amendment to the Law, but that Israel will provide ISRs?
- Now that the Israel Patent Agency is to provide ISR type searches, does that mean that at last they will start searching and examining all claims, at least for the first invention as defined by PCT Law and Regulations, and not just the independent claims as they generally do at present.
Time, and Patent Office Circulars, will no doubt tell.