In a new regulation that came into effect at the beginning of the year, colleges of higher education that are recognized by the Committee that recognizes Israeli institutions granting degrees are entitled to a discounted filing fee.
Whereas regular Israeli applicants and foreign applicants, including universities and colleges have to pay 2017 Shekels, the Israeli colleges are entitled to a 40% discount.
For the past year or so, individual Israeli inventors and companies with minimal income are entitled to such discounts, and I note that in the US there are different fees for micro-entities, small entities and large companies excluding colleges, so Israel is not alone in this. Nevertheless, I fail to see justification for favouring Israeli colleges of education.
The general justification for the patent system is that a limited monopoly is provided in return to teaching something new. College academics publish papers anyway. That as may be, if such colleges have tech transfer companies and file patent applications in order to license them or spin off a start-up company in their incubator, why shouldn’t they be treated like any other commercial institution?
There doesn’t seem to be a need to provide incentives to colleges to file patent applications as the Israel universities are among the most prolific Israeli applicants anyway, with the tech transfer companies of the Weizmann Institute, Hebrew University and Ben Gurion University all appearing in the list of the top ten most prolific local filers for 2014, and the Technion tech transfer and Yeda (Weizmann tech transfer) appearing in the list of the top ten most prolific local patentees of 2014.
I am wondering whether a discount in filing fees per application of 807 Shekels or just over $200 provides any incentive to the tech transfers to file patent applications? Is there any national agenda that provides a logic for encouraging them to file applications in Israel? If there is some justification for a policy of encouraging Israel universities to file patents, why not ear-mark some government funding for this purpose instead of blatantly discriminating against foreign universities – not that a $200 will likely impact their patenting strategy either.
I generally advise clients to first file in Israel. There are some attorneys that advise first filing a US provisional application. Does a $200 discount affect the advice one would provide to a college or university? I am not convinced.