Following the large number of changes relating to patent prosecution in Israel, the Israel Patent Authority held a seminar today, 19 February 2013.
There were three presentations. The first one, by the Chief Examiner, reviewed the duty of disclosure requirements and the various fees for filing and prosecuting patents.
The patent office stressed that the reduced filing fee of NIS 1200 (about what the fee used to be before the massive price hike at the beginning of the year), is ONLY for priority applications filed in Israel. All applicants, including individuals and companies that have small turnovers have to pay the full fee of NIS 2000 when filing a Paris Convention filing or a PCT national phase entry. If the reduced fee is inadvertently paid for a Paris Convention filing, one receives the date of filing, but has to pay to the additional fee. With a PCT national phase entry, one does not receive a filing date until the correct fee has been paid. The reason for the difference was not explained. In the ensuing discussion, it was suggested to rearrange the list of fees to make it clear that the reduced payment and additional payment is only for first filings. In a second lecture, the person responsible for the new improved website explained a little about how to navigate. Various members of the audience pointed out flaws with the interface. In a final lecture, the mystery of online PCT filings via uploading to the Israel Patent Office as receiving office via the website was elucidated.
The air-conditioning wasn’t working and it got a bit stuffy. The refreshments were a little frugal. About 65 people were present, but I am not sure how many were patent office staff and how many were practitioners – from the familiar faces, both were certainly present. As always, the seminar was a good opportunity to catch up with former employers, colleagues and employees.
The seminar was certainly helpful and timely. I didn’t stay for the final lecture as I have recently managed to sort out direct PCT filings and have managed two filings over the past couple of weeks. If I hadn’t, I would certainly have stayed for that as well.
One interesting piece of news, though expected as a natural progression, was an informal announcement that the patent office was working towards online filing and prosecution via the website. This should come in by the end of this year or next. We see this as a positive development, in that it should be more ecological in saving paper and petrol. We hope that eventually we will be able to look up actions on an official patent office docket using a customer service number, such as one’s license number.
I have expressed reservations regarding the patent office hosting European examiners and holding seminars on things like patentable subject matter, since examiners and practitioners are on different sides of the fence. Seminars regarding procedural matters are, however, certainly worthwhile events for the patent office to hold.
It was also nice seeing that the Israel Patent Office was investing in smoother procedures, an improved website etc., and not only charging more for their services.