The fees for filing and prosecuting patents, designs and trademarks are generally index linked to the cost of living and there are twice yearly adjustments which are usually fairly trivial. The fees for renewing patent, design and trademark registrations are similarly adjusted.
In a Notice dated 3 December 2012, the Israel Patent Agency announced a radically different price regime for some patent related services. However, design and trademark related fees will only have the expected index linked adjustments.
The fee for filing a patent application which until January 1, 2013 stood at NIS 1025 (about $275 US) have gone up to NIS 2000 (about $540) which is a sharp increase of nearly 100%. However, companies having an annual turnover of less than NIS 10 Million (about 2.7 million dollars) who are prepared to sign a declaration to that effect, and also individual applicants – who do not need to declare anything – are entitled to pay a reduced filing fee of NIS 1200, which is actually fairly close to the filing fee prior to it being discounted as there is no longer a publication fee for first publication, since the data is made available on-line. It should, however, also be born in mind that the publication fee for allowed applications has also been cancelled.
Very sharp increases in extension fees and renewals fees have also been introduced. Each monthly extension fee for responding to an office action or for paying a renewal, etc. will now be NIS 200 (about $54), whereas until now, this has been NIS 64 (about $17).
Renewals have gone up considerably as well. Whereas the first renewal for years 1-6 from filing was NIS 157, and the second renewal for years 6-10 was NIS 320. These are now NIS 800 and NIS 1600. In other words, the first renewal has gone up by over 400%!
Expedited examination and oppositions are also more expensive.
The Dollar- Shekel exchange rate has also dropped, so the cost in dollars has gone up even more disproportionately.
A condition for the Israel Patent Agency becoming an International Search Authority for the PCT was that it would maintain a team of 100 examiners. Presumably this has increased running costs of the patent office. Not only do these examiners presumably receive salaries, but they also require office space, etc. Perhaps there has also been a perceived increase in value of an Israeli patent, both due to the Israel Patent Agency becoming an International Search Authority, and because of books like Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle, 2009 by Dan Senor and Saul Singer.
Sometimes high prices do not deter investments. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether these sharp increases have an effect on the number of patent applications filed in Israel and on whether or not they are maintained.