IPAA Alive and Kicking, or a Zombie?

Just when we’d despaired of the Israel Patent Attorneys Association doing anything, we’ve been delighted to learn that the organization is holding a meeting for Israel Patent Attorneys only.  The event will be held on Monday 9th December from 8:30 to 16:30 at the Israel Yafeh Center, 80 Rokach Street, Part Hayarkon.

The poster (Hebrew, but licensed Israel Patent Attorneys and trainees should have no problem with that)  is reproduced below:

AIPPI program 2019

Maybe it’s just me, with an hour sitting in traffic to arrive at 8:30 am, but I suspect that our honored Chairperson, Einav Zilber may regret starting at 8:30 and speaking first. I am a night owl and so are many patent attorneys. Still, there may be some that get up early and manage to get to this central (congested) location at 8:30 am. Those may not mind leaving at 4:30 PM into the evening rush hour.  I would have suggested 10 AM to 6 PM and spending less time on the roads. It is also a more sociable hour to go off for a beer or supper with colleagues afterwards.

The dynamic duo from the Patent Office, Ophir Alon and Ms Jacqueline Bracha will provide an overview of Patent Office Activities and future plans. The annual report for 2018 published recently. Maybe we will receive a preview of 2019? It may be a good opportunity to learn about Hague and international designs.

The Israel Patent Office team are followed by Dudi Zalmanovitsh. Dudi negotiates insurance for patent attorneys. We would like the IPAA to negotiate a basic coverage for sole practitioners and small firms. The Israel Law Bar does this for attorneys-at-law. Of course, if they do this, Dudi’s services might be less in demand…

This is followed by a session featuring attorneys from Perl Cohen, the Ehrlich Group and Reinhold Cohen on multidiscplinary patent applications, including personalized medicine, and software based inventions, and drafting claims that are patentable in Israel, the US and Europe.

I find the choice of speakers odd. I have actually been roped in to write multidisciplinary applications by firms that were working with one of these firms, because apparently there wasn’t a patent attorney there who could cope with the combination of mechanical, electronic and software elements. I have found that in large firms, the attorneys tend to get pigeon holed, and do software or medical devices or mechanics or whatever, but are not great when the invention is interdisciplinary. I have also done a software based personal medicine application for one of Israel’s larger medicine firms that had an extremely large number of patent attorneys working in-house.  I think the same is likely of other experienced attorneys working for smaller firms or as sole-practitioners. Not having a massive team of specialists, the sole-practitioner develops into a capable generalist. In fact, it is not common for patent attorneys drafting applications in their fields in larger firms to even know about prosecution in Israel as that is usually handled by someone else. I am sure that multidisciplinary applications are handled by patent attorneys in firms of all sizes, and that sole practitioners will handle differently from those in larger firms. I therefore think it is likely that a panel reflecting both the small cogs in big machines, and the large fish in small pond type attorney would be more valuable than a panel made up of three patent attorneys who all work for larger firms.

The next sesssion is on managing IP in industry. For some reason, probably aping Kim’s IPR conferences, the speakers are all in-house counsel at larger companies. However, there are patent attorneys that are part-time in-house counsel in smaller companies, some, like Simon Kay, being in-house counsel in several smaller firms. Perhaps those attorneys working for smaller companies may find the solutions and methodologies that are used in the very large companies innappropriate?

The final session is by Amir Milo who is an entrepeneur and investor, who asks if patents are weapons, assets or a burden.

The program is a modest 80 Shekels for members of IPAA and and includes a vegetarian and fish lunch (the Israel Yaffe Centre is Kosher, so unlike the AIPPI AGM, we need not worry that Pepperoni Pizza will be served. Membership is offered for 200 Shekels.  There is also a non-member’s price of 400 Shekels, and trainees are allowed to attend for free. This is clearly an attempt to attract more (some?) members. Like many, I’ve let my membership lapse after becoming fed up with the lack of events, and with membership money being used to finance the biannual Israel AIPPI event which seems to be a kind of Ilan Cohn roadshow. 

I would have welcomed a round table discussion on what Israel Patent Attorneys want from what is supposed to be their professional organization – however it seems that at least on this occasion this is not happening. We hope that at some not-too-distant future event members and potential members will be polled.



Categories: Uncategorized

6 replies

  1. Dear Michael,
    Your greatness, can you refer us to the publication numbers of the applications you drafted for a big firm?
    For example to inventions related to the combination of mechanical, electronic and software elements?
    Thanks
    Secret admirer

    • Dear Secret Admirer,
      The combination of mechanical, electronic and software elements was for a start up.
      It was the personal medicine case that was for a big firm.

      The start up was working with a large Patent Firm that was having trouble getting its collective heads around the invention. My wife was providing consulting services to the start up, and suggested that I could do it. My first draft was wrong as I was filling in the gaps between their explanations and figures. We sat down, cleared up the issues and the thing was filed a couple of weeks after I got involved.

      Had I wished to post the details of the client, so that one can see which of the larger three firms had a problem, comparing who filed the priority document and who filed the PCT, I would have published the details. I chose not to.

      Apparently you chose not to reveal who you are.

      I think patent attorneys decide whether to work in a larger firm or a small er firm, or in house, based on their character, and on the technologies they are comfortable with. I think the organizers of this event have a bias to bigger firm means better attorney, and this is not the case.

      I also think that just becuase Kim Lindy needs to present in-house representatives from larger Israeli companies so that the patent attorneys from abroad that sponsor the event take it seriously, does not mean that those speakers are necessarily the fonts of all wisdom, and I’d like to hear from others, perhaps working in smaller Israeli companies.

      As it happens, Einav asked me to post the event and to raise some controversy so I am delighted that you wrote in. However, I am less than enamored with anonimous comments.

  2. You are absolutely right that the hours of this conference are unacceptable except for people already in Tel Aviv. I won’t mention the challenges for people with children, but I know of no patent attorney who can afford sitting in a traffic jam for at least 1 hour each way. A more substantive comment follows.

  3. Michael, you did not mention that membership is now tied to acceptance of the IPAA Ethical Code.

    The Ethical Code is far better than what was proposed in 2014, but is still very damaging to small offices, small practitioners and anyone who wants to start a new firm, although it has no substantive effect on large offices and in-house counsel. Accordingly, I can’t see any small practitioner who can allow himself or herself to join this organization.

    Worse, I remind you that back in 2014 there was talk of turning the IPAA into a statutory body which would make the Ethical Code mandatory. This will be the death of any small firm and make setting up new firms next to impossible. This is a very dangerous situation.

    • I am not sure that I agree regarding the current code, but I have not read it for a while. I think that there is a lot to be said for checking that clients moving firms have not left debts. and ethical behavior IS important.
      For example, I want regulation for treatment of trainees. I think everyone deserves a guaranteed salary, even if it is the minimum wage. I am more concerned about exploitive practices.
      Requirements of dedicated offices are, however, out of date. If a sole practitioner wants to work from a WeWork type of setup instead of having a door with a permanent shingle, I can’t see tha this is unethical. It seems more like how business is conducted in the 21st century.
      I note, for example, it is how Dudi Zalmanowich sometimes operates.
      Still the idea of training lectures and attorneys keeping up to date is a valuable one. I think that the IPAA should be applauded for actually organizing an event and charging a reasonable price for it, rather than taking a five star hotel and pricing things so that only employees can afford to attend if the firm foots the bill.

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