The Association of Patent Attorneys in Israel (APAI) is a voluntary body whose membership is open to patent attorneys who are licensed to practice in Israel but who are not examiners in the Israel Patent Office.
Ms Michal Hackmey, the Chairperson has just announced a General Meeting to be held on Wednesday 3 July 2013 at 16:00 in American Zionist House.
Any member may submit himself / herself as a candidate to serve on the Committee of the organization, but have to submit their name in writing to Ms Hackmey before the general meeting, preferably by the 2nd July 2013.
Regardless of the turnout, elections will take place.
Last time there was a general meeting, patent attorneys working for three large firms submitted votes by proxy – this despite the fact that the list of candidates wasn’t made available in advance. What this meant was that Luzzatto et Luzzatto, Reinhold Cohen & Partners, and, if I remember correctly, Paulina Ben-Ami’s office, had block votes that decided the make up of the current committee – which includes three representatives of firms having proxy vote blocks. The committee includes a representative of sole practitioners and one of patent attorneys in industry but these too were essentially appointed by a caucus of senior partners of three firms. I doubt if the employees who voted by proxy were even aware that they were voting. Certainly they could not make an informed decision as they could not know who was standing.
I noted the irregularity at the time, and the keeper of the constitution acknowedged that there is no support for this voting style. Neverless, it was hallowed practice of the organization who had apparently been doing it for years.
Arguably large firms are quite capable of representing themselves before the Patent Office and other agencies, so the Association of Patent Attorneys in Israel is more important for smaller firms and sole practitioners. That as may be, it is difficult to criticize these shenanigans as undemocratic since the political parties that run the country use lists that are manipulated by similar tricks. Nevertheless, there doesn’t seem much point in attending the General Meeting. Holding the election in July is a good way of making sure that the turnout is sufficiently low that there are no upsets. The esteemed chairperson seems to have a life sinecure and despite the lack of activity since the last General Meeting, we doubt that any criticisms of the outgoing committee will be heard.
The IP landscape is dynamic and ever-changing. It is therefore useful that the Israel patent office, the universities, the LES, several patent firms and various initiatives such as the IPR hold seminars and lectures. Recently a group of sole practitioners and smaller firms have held a couple of round table lectures and it is expected that these initiatives will continue to fill the vacuum created by the ineffectual official professional organization.
Comments from readers are, as always, welcome.