Pending Israel Copyright Amendment to Address Internet Piracy of Audio Visual Works

May 8, 2018

pirate bay

Oh, better far to live and die
Under the brave black flag I fly,
Than play a sanctimonious part,
With a pirate head and a pirate heart.
Away to the cheating world go you,
Where pirates all are well-to-do;
But I’ll be true to the song I sing,
And live and die a Pirate King.

Pirates of Penzance Gilbert & Sullivan

From 2006 to 2014, we have noted that Israel has been on the United States Special 301 priority watch list of countries having allegedly inadequate IP protection. The main criticism was the pharmaceutical extension regime in Israel which was believed to be too liberal to generic manufacturers. The amendment of the amendment was reamended and Israel’s status was upgraded.

A second criticism was that Israel’s copyright regime did not provide tools to hold Internet Service Providers (ISPs) responsible for preventing free access to copyright materials such as songs, movies and television series over the Internet. There are good arguments for and against making service providers responsible. They are not policemen and should not be. There is a perceived problem that without monetary compensation for their creative output, producers and artists will not create.

There is a new copyright bill pending legislation in Israel that addressed this issue, and a copy of which may be found here. The purpose of the bill is to try to reduce copyright piracy on the Internet, particularly of audio-visual works.

The following is an analysis of the proposed amendment. The bill contains four elements:

  1. An expansion of the concept of indirect infringement, to include websites that offer viewers access to unauthorized content such as movies and TV series. The indirect inclusion includes links to an offshore location in cases of actual or constructive knowledge of the act and intent to profit.
    This element will have utility to the extent that the Israeli courts can thereby obtain jurisdiction over the operators of the web site that aggregates the links. However, where this entity is not identified, then this part of the amendment won’t have much real world effect.
  2. Blocking Orders. While some courts have issued these in the past, other courts claim that without specific authorizing legislation they do not have authority to grant blocking orders. Hence the legislation.
    This element is likely to become the best tool for disrupting internet piracy. The proposal also clarifies that the cost of the blocking order will be borne by the applicant and not the Internet Service Provider (ISP). Apparently, there are actual costs in carrying out such blocking order.
  3. Discovery of the identities of up-loaders of infringing content.
  4. Enhanced criminal penalties.

The Tel Aviv Law School (Amnon Goldenberg Institute run by Professor Michael Birnhack) has published their comments on the bill, as have others, and it is scheduled to be debated by the Economics Committee of the Knesset on 21 May 2018.

ISP-1

The goal of the Ministry of Justice in formulating the bill was to find language that would be wide enough to catch pirates, but narrow enough to not cause any unwanted collateral damage. This goal was difficult to achieve in the proposed 48A.

Content developers and rights holders would prefer that the legislator err, if at all, on the side of over-protection, whereas the advocates of fair use and free speech prefer that the legislator err, if at all, on the side of under protection.

What is not included in the Bill, despite calls for such, is:

  • A codified “notice and takedown” type regime; and
  • WIPO style “technological protection measures” legislation.

The “notice and takedown” case-law seems to work, so why fix it? Although we have heard comments from legitimate web sites that a “safe harbour” might help them should 48A prove to broad in practice.

pirate dated

Currently, Israel does not have technical performance measures (TPM), something mandated by the 1996 WIPO treaties and intended for a different era, but which may have some unintended relevance in a world where content is no longer delivered on DVD, but rather through on-line subscription services. The Israel Justice Ministry does not have any a priori objection to either of these matters. However they are both incredibly complex to draft and if drafted improperly can have grave unintended consequences. For example, an overly broad TPM provision might have unintended consequences for tech companies and their developments.

The Justice Ministry considers that both of these issues are worthy of further study, but to move forward with them considers they should get the full legislative process by issuance of a proposal, requesting public comment, the drafting of a bill, and Knesset discussion, rather than a last-minute add-on to a pending bill.

The current bill is cautious and conservative, with the drafters having the perception that it is easier to add measures than to cope with overly broad powers and runaway judges.

 

Comment

The proposed legislation seems balanced and well-considered.

Certainly consumers of content should compensate the developers of the content for their efforts, and have little patience for those that download films and series, arguing that the developers don’t lose anything as they wouldn’t pay for it anyway. Traditionally, Jewish Law did not generally recognize non-tangible property rights, although entertainment, such as a dance, could have value and be used instead of a ring, for marriage purposes. The modern economy and civilization has moved on and IP rights are an essential development. Israel should be a light to the world in judicial matters. However, where there are widely accepted minimum standards of behaviour, it is important that Israeli legislation and private behaviour do not fall behind.  That said, I don’t think that there is any basis for assuming that people write songs or create films for revenue in 70 years’ time or for 50 years after death. The actuarial depreciation of such revenue streams to the time of writing results in such future profits as being negligible. I would prefer that:

  • laws on copyright infringement be coupled with the need to register copyright (as once required in the US, and required for trademarks, patents and designs
  • that the period of protection be significantly shortened to perhaps 10 or 15 years
  • that after initial launch in cinemas or as albums, movies and songs become available for reasonable cost over the Internet by legitimate streaming services, and that viewers can choose between premium advertisement-free access and sponsored access
  • there should be broad fair use exceptions
  • I am very put out that academic papers are developed by public universities and that access often requires payment. I want to see access for all with the universities sponsoring the publication rights, and more journals being exclusively on-line. Knowledge should be in the public domain, but authors should be recognized. There seems no place for commercial publishers of academic journals in the modern world.

Getting a Handle on Israel Design Registration

March 26, 2017

Furnipart

Although there is a proposed Law in the works, in Israel, design registration follows the somewhat archaic Patent and Design Ordinance 1924 inherited from the British Mandate. Formally, only local novelty is required! In a Circular, Previous Commissioner Dr Meir Noam creatively interpreted the Law such that Internet publication in official Patent Office websites that are acceptable in Israel would be considered as published in Israel. As discussed in this blog, that Circular is arguably ultra-vires in that such a determination arguably requires at least Ministry of Justice regulations if not a change in the Law. The present ruling by Outgoing Commissioner Kling relates to this Circular.

This ruling concerns seven design registrations – 55598 to 55604 – all of which were titled ‘Handle’ and were filed on 20 May 2014 in class 08-06 for handles and hinges by Furnipart.

On 22 March 2015, the Applicant received an Office Action that alleged that the design were lacking in the novelty and originality required by Section 30(1) of the Patent and Design Ordinance 1924 since the designs were identical to those registered in the name of the Applicant in Europe which were registered and published prior to submission of the Applications in Israel.

In addition to the 55602 registration that was submitted to the EPO on 18 October 2013 and which published on 15 November 2014, all the applications were submitted on 21 February 2014 and published on 26 March 2014.

The Applicant failed to respond to the Office Actions in the period specified in Regulation 28 of the Design Regulations, and on 23 June 2015, a reminder was sent warning the Applicant that failure to respond within 30 days with a request for a retroactive extension would lead to the applications being considered abandoned.

On 10 August 2015, the Applicant sent a response in which he claimed that the designs were, indeed registered in Europe, but apart from the publication on the EPO website, there was no publication in Israel. The Applicant claimed that the Israel Application was filed within the six month time frame of the European filings which is within the grace period from the first filing (Denmark) given in Section 52a(1) of the Ordinance.  Consequently, the European filing date should be considered the effective filing date in Israel.

On 13 August 2005, the Applicant was sent a notice that stated that further examination required payment of the extension fee, and which referenced Circular M.N. 69 from 25 December 2008 and to Section 53(2) of the Ordinance, noting that the Applications did not, claim priority.

On 9 September 2015, the Applicant was sent a second Office Action clarifying that under Circular M.N. 69, an Internet publication is considered as a publication that is published in Israel and so the Applications are contrary to Section 30(1) of the Ordinance. Similarly, it was noted that priority was not requested within two months of submission as required by Section 52(2) and so the effective filing date was the actual filing date in Israel.

On 15 December 2015 in light of the rejection of 9 September, the Applicant requested a hearing and this was geld on 18 April 2016.

Prior to the hearing, the Applicant submitted his main pleadings on 11 April 2016., during which he reiterated the above claims. He also alleged that Circular M.N. 69 differentiates between official and commercial publications and the European Patent Office publication was not meant to be published in Israel, even if it is accessible on line from Israel since the Israel design is not in force. Based on this ‘logic’, the Applicant claims that he is within the requirements of Section 52(a)1 of the Ordinance since there is a six month’s grace period.

 The Ruling

Section 30(1) of the Ordinance states:

The registrar may, on the application made in the prescribed form and manner of any person claiming to be the proprietor of any new or original design not previously published in Israel register the design under this Part.

So registration is contingent on no prior publication in Israel.

In Section 6 of Circular M.N. 69 from 24 December 2008, the previous Commissioner ruled that :

One can cite designs that have published on the Internet before the filing date in Israel, since there is evidence of their publication date.

To cite something against novelty of a design, section 7 of M.N. 69 relates explicitly to publications in patent offices abroad.

Use of Internet publications shall be done with the required care and only where the Examiner considers that he can rely on it indeed having published prior to the Israel filing date. For example, publication in databases in the official European patent office website OHIM, the USPTO and WIPO, etc. which publish the publication date of each design.

As far as relying on Internet publication, Examiners have been warned to cite these with due care – see the 51593 and 51594 Tequila Cuervo ruling from 9 June 2013, particularly paragraphs 44 and 45, and the ruling concerning various designs to Naot Shoes (1994) ltd published on 1 June 2016 

The same required care regarding the publication date, content and likelihood of Israel based surfers seeing the publication was considered in paragraph 10 of the 45452 Sejec Vanja ruling published on 28 February 2012: 

The language of Section 30(1) of the Ordinance states ‘… not having published earlier in Israel. This does not require that anyone has actually seen the publication…such was always the interpretation, even prior to the Internet age. The question is whether the publication was accessible. See for example the Appeal 430/67 Sharnoa ltd. et al. vs. Tnuva et al. (1968):

“The law regarding prior publication in a book of this type is based on the book being found in a place accessible to the public, such as a public library is considered sufficient publication, since one can assume that in this manner, the design reaches the public knowledge”.

In light of the above, one cannot accept the Applicant’s allegation that the previous publications are not novelty destroying, since reason that Patent Office Internet accessible databases are considered publications is the ease with which one can verify the publication date. This is certainly the case where the applicant does not deny the trustworthiness of the site and of the listed publication date, only whether Israelis would have access to inspect there.

Priority Date

The Applicant claims that despite the earlier publications that are novelty destroying for the applied for designs, the effective filing date in Israel should be considered as being the actual filing date in Europe.

Section 52(a) states:

If a design owner submits a request to register a design that has previously been filed by himself or by  his predecessors in title, a request to file in one or more friendly states (henceforth priority), he may request that as far as sections 30(a) and 36 are concerned, that the earliest priority date will be considered the filing date in Israel if all the following conditions are met:
(1) The Israel Application is submitted within six months of the earliest priority; and
(2) A priority request is submitted within two months of filing.

Firstly, it is stressed that contrary to the Applicant’s claims, Section 52 that the priority date is determined with reference to Sections 30(1) and 36, i.e. with respect to novelty and earlier publication. This does not mean that where a priority claim is made, that the Israel application automatically is awarded the priority date.

In this instance, the previous applications were filed on 21 February 2014 and then in Israel on 20 May 2014, i.e. within the six months grace period for which I priority request can be made. However, filing within six months of the prior application is insufficient since the second clause requires that the Applicant makes a priority claim within two months of the Israel filing date.

On 21 October 2014, this two month period for requesting priority in Israel passed, the period for which the application can rely on the filing date of earlier applications with respect to Sections 30(1) and 36 passed without Applicant requesting priority.

The Commissioner does not agree with the Applicant that the mere filing of an Application in the period provided for in clause 1 is sufficient since Section 52 requires both conditions to be fulfilled: filing within six months and making a timely request for recognition of the priority date. These conditions are complimentary – section 52(a) states explicitly that it applies if all the following conditions are met. One condition being fulfilled does not waive the other. So there is consensus that merely filing within six months does not result in priority being recognized.

Since the full requirements were only met a year after the two month deadline, the Applicant is not entitled to the priority date.

In the hearing, the Applicant’s representative noted that section 54 gives the Commissioner the discretionary powers to extend deadlines in the regulations even retroactively. The Commissioner considers that this regulation does not give him the power to extend deadlines in the Ordinance itself, including extending the priority claim.

The Application is rejected and the designs will not register.

Ruling concerning Design Numbers 55598 to 55604 “Handles” by Asa Kling, 21 February 2017.

COMMENT

four candles  The classic 1976 Fork Handles sketch may be found here.


Down to Earth Issues That an Israel Code of Practice Should Regulate

September 26, 2016

The following is a list of issues that I would like deliberated by the Ministry of Justice or the Knesset before legislating a Code of Practice for Israel Patent Attorneys. The same issues should be discussed by the IPAA and other relevant fora when considering voluntary codes.

In no particular order:

Patent Attorneys often provide opinions to third parties such as investors.If they have a conflict, maybe they should not be allowed to provide an opinion or should at least be required to announce their interest.

  1. Should patent attorneys that are not employees but outside service providers be allowed to own shares in their clients?
  2. Should patent attorneys that are not employees but outside service providers be allowed to draft applications for shares in their client’s business?
  3. May a patent attorney  that is not an employee but an outside service provider be allowed to jointly own a patent application with his client?
  4. May a patent attorney that is not an employee but an outside service provider be allowed to list himself as an inventor on a patent that he or one of his partners or an employee of the IP firm is filing and prosecuting?

Israel Patent Attorneys are specialists in IP Law but do not have a general legal background (unless, like me, they also have Law Degrees). If they are not licensed to practice law, regardless of their personal knowledge, what are the borders of what services can they legally provide? Attorneys-at-law tend to take a narrower view and patent attorneys a wider view. The border is not clear. Now is an excellent time to provide clarity and guidelines.

  1. May a patent attorney who is not an Attorney-At-Law provide legal information regarding IP related tax issues, the sale of IP, copyright and the validity of Israel patents.
  2. May a patent attorney who is not an Attorney-At-Law provide advice regarding service inventions?

What Patent related services may a self-styled patent expert, patent manager, IP manager, Search expert, IP Paralegal or other IP practitioner who is neither a patent attorney or an attorney-at-law be allowed to practice?

Section 154 of the Israel Patent Law lists the Rights of Patent Attorneys

154.—(a) Patent attorneys have the exclusive right to deal in Israel, for remuneration, with applications for patents, designs and trade marks and with the preparation of any document to be submitted to the Registrar, the office or to an authority for the protection of industrial property in another country, to represent the parties and to handle and represent in any proceeding before the Registrar or in the Office.

(b) This section does not derogate from the right of an advocate or of a State employee to perform the said acts within the scope of his functions.

There are all sorts of people who offer patent related services that are not formally qualified and are not regulated. Section 19 and 20 of the Israel Bar Law and Section 154 of the Patent Law which is reproduced above make this quite clear. The Law does not seem to have teeth, and there are a whole slew of non-patent attorneys that provide such services.  Nevertheless, it is not always clear what the meaning of the Law is. For example:

  1.  Is a graphics person who produces IP drawings for a patent attorney to file preparing a document for submission to the registrar. There are a large number of such  people offering services to patent attorneys on a free-lance basis. I’d argue this should be legal, but is it?
  2. What if a graphics person provides an inventor with such figures for inventor to submit himself?
  3. What if a company, say a prototyping company, produces such drawings and accompanying description for an inventor to submit himself?
  4. What if such a company also provides draft claims?
  5. What about a person who has worked for a patent attorney firm in the past or is moonlighting and still working for a patent firm. I am thinking of a paralegal or a trainee patent attorney or someone else who is neither an attorney-in-law nor a patent-attorney.  Does this happen? Yes. Is it illegal? I think so.
  6. What about a US licensed practitioner who has failed to pass the Israel Patent Bar, and merely helps clients obtain IP rights in the US? Such a person seems to be helping with the preparation of any document to be submitted to the office or to an authority for the protection of industrial property in another country. It seems to be illegal.
  7. But what about companies that are bona fide US firms (or European or other foreign firms) whose attorneys come to Israel a few times a year to meet with their clients? If they accept remuneration for advice given locally or work on an office action whilst here, is this illegal?
  8. What about US firms that operate in Israel and aggressively chase Israeli clients?

I would argue that their operating an office here is illegal and contrary to Section 154. The fact that they do not prosecute patents in Israel does not make their offering IP services to Israel clients directly a legal activity.

Advertising. The Israel Bar Code of Ethics places significant limitations on the type of advertising that Israel Attorneys-at-law are allowed to engage in. The voluntary code of ethics for Israel Patent Attorneys has similar limitations that are voluntary. The response to the Call for Comments that the IPAA sent out last time was drafted by Reinhold Cohn lawyers and called to limit, at least locally in Israel, patent attorneys from using any form of advertising that Attorneys-in-Law cannot use. There is some legitimacy and logic in holding patent attorneys to the same standards as Attorneys-In-Law, but there are counter arguments. If patent attorneys provide services that are hybrids of technical,,scientific and legal services, maybe they should have the option to market themselves in a more high-tech service provider and less legal manner? Note Reinhold Cohn themselves have moved from Legal South Tel Aviv to a High Tech park and moved out of a Bauhaus building and into a modern building in a high-tech park. They’ve changed their logo to something more distinctive and less legal looking, and adopted the high-techy acronym RCIP. Let’s take this one stage further. Reinhold Cohen has a sister firm of attorneys at law to provide complimentary services, handling oppositions, enforcement and the like.  Does this mean that a patent attorney cannot handle these issues? If a patent attorney does not want to handle these issues and wants to brand himself more like a technology service provider, may be he or she should be able to advertise more proactively?

Another corollary of aping the legal profession, is that patent attorneys would have to have  a dedicated premises for meeting clients that is not shared with any other type of business. This limitation of legal practices may be inappropriate to patent attorneys.

  1.   Two or more law firms can share office space without competing, if one handles wills and the other handles litigation, conveyancing (real estate law),  one handles criminal and the other civil, etc. There are 75,000 potential room-mates to share office space with. Patent attorneys don’t have this flexibility. If Reinhold Cohn’s proposal is accepted, they will have to rent a full office, or share with direct competitors. Note – small offices are hard to come by and the rents are usually much higher.
  2. Why shouldn’t a high-tech patent attorney specializing in start-ups rent office space in the offices of a venture capital firm, a high-tech incubator, a start-up trendy premises like We Work? It may not be appropriate for a large IP firm, but it may be a good solution for a sole practitioner or a small firm.
  3. Maybe in the modern world, a patent attorney does not need an office at all? One can have all one’s files on a laptop and work anywhere. I have a number of clients that I visit who have never visited by office. Maybe I don’t actually need an office? The code of ethics for lawyers is a document that was drafted in an earlier age. It has occasionally been updated. It may be inappropriate as a basis for an up-to-date profession that provides services at the cutting edge of technology.

Treatment of trainees and employees

I think trainees should be registered within less than a month of starting their apprenticship. They are entitled to a minimum wage. Percentage based remuneration is not appropriate for trainees.

Should percentage based remuneration be legal for any employee?

Should patent attorney firms be able to demand exclusivity from a licensed practitoner, whilst employing him on the basis of tax invoices for jobs on eat-what-you-kill basis?  I am aware of situations where employers do not fire employees working on a percentage basis but simply close the tap. The employer does not provide redundancy pay.

Some firms make employees sign non-compete clauses, contracts requiring them to stay for at least a year after qualifying, letters explaining that strange employment terms where the employees idea that he insisted on and other shenanigans. I think that the current proposed code of conduct is an ideal opportunity to address all these issues.


Extending the Deadline to File Complaint

September 13, 2016

genentechIL 146954 to Genentech is titled “HUMANIZED ANTI-ErbB2 ANTIBODIES AND TREATMENT WITH ANTI-ErbB2 ANTIBODIES”. It is the national phase of PCT/US2000/07366. The active ingredient is Pertezumab.

Pertuzumab received US FDA approval for the treatment of HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer on June 8, 2012.[3] Pertuzumab was developed at Genentech and is now owned by Roche which acquired Genentech in 2009. The drug received regulatory approval in Israel on 8 July 2012, and on 21 February 2013 a patent term extension was requested and this was granted until 11 May 2021.

patent-extensionThe patentee requested an extension of time for responding to an Examiner’s action under Section 161 of the Israel Patent Law 1967. As explained below, the intended response relates to the intention to publish the grant of a patent term extension until the date awarded. However, the intention published in the July 2016 journal.

On 19 February 2013 the patentee requested a patent term extension for IL 146954. The conditions set out in Section 64e(5) of the Law were in place, but at that stage there was no extension to the basic patent in the US as required by 64d(5).  In the January 2015 journal there was an announcement of the intention to grant an extension under Section 64e(5) 1 of the Law.

Afterwards, when the Section 64d(5) requirement was met, the patentee gave evidence of the patent term extension of the basic patent in the US. In that notice the patentee noted that they expected that the Examination would be completed and a corresponding extension of the patent would be granted.

Consequently, the Deputy Senior Examiner completed her Examination and, on 4 July 2016, informed the patentee that the patent was entitled to a 353 day extension until 10 June 2021, which is the length of the extension in the US, and is the shortest of all the extensions granted by an extension granting state, as per Section 64i(1) of the Law.  The Patentee had until 18 July 2016 to respond to this notification.

calculating-sec-154-patent-term-adjustments-1-728-1On 18 July 2016, the patentee responded to this notification. From the wording of the response it is clear that the patentee does not have any problem with the mathematics used in  calculating the patent term extension. However, the patentee noted their position that the Examiner should take into consideration not just the Patent Term Extension period in the US (PTE), but also the Patent Term Adjustment (PTA) in the US.

Without substantive reference to the relevancy or otherwise of the Patent Term Adjustment, it is noted that until the patentee requested that the extension NOT be published, Genentech (Roche) had not raised Patent Term Adjustment (PTA) related issues and even now, did not provide details of the Patent Term Adjustment granted by the USPTO. So the Examiner was under no obligation to relate to this additional time period.

Once the period for responding had passed, and on receipt of the Patentee’s response, the Examiner informed the Patentee on 18 July 2016 that she intended extending the patent protection period in  Israel by the Patent Term Extension (PTE) awarded in the US as per Section 65(e)(5)(3) and that this decision would publish for opposition purposes in the July Journal, and this happened. The request to extend the period for filing a critique was submitted on 11 August 2016, after the publication of the extension order. The contents of the critique, which has not been submitted, is unknown.

The reason put forwards by the patentee for the patent extension is based on the allegation that the current law damages their property rights and they are considering the possibility of changing the current legislation. Thus it follows that the patentee does not contend that the Examiner’s actions were in accordance with current legislation. The requested Extension is until the basic patent lapses, which is until 23 June 2020, or a further year if the Patent Term Extension is also considered.

Thus the patentee does not argue that the Examiner was acting in contravention of the law and admits that the Examiner’s actions were in accordance with current legislation. The Commissioner, Asa Kling, does not believe that a patentee’s intention to try to change the legislation is sufficient reason for the Israel Patent Office to delay publishing its actions; particularly when the action has already happened and happened in accordance with the Law.

So the Commissioner does not see fit to extend the period prior to publication.

In a footnote, the Commissioner does not think that his refusal in any way adversely affects the patentee, since he can always submit a detailed request for recalculation under Section 164(c) of the Law.

COMMENT

In a recent decision the Supreme Court weighed in on a challenge to the patent term extension rules as being unconstitutional, and found that the legislative body can write the rules as it sees fit, to find  a balance between the competing need of the drug developers to be able to profit from their investment and have an incentive to conduct research and development and to file applications, with the public good provided by competition, non-monopolistic markets with generic competition.

The specific issue of the differences in Patent Perm Extensions and Patent Term Adjustments was discussed in a February decision.

I can understand the drug manufacturers considering the current law unfair, but, in light of the amendment to the amendment, it does seem to reflect what the Knesset wants and has been upheld by the courts. I don’t think that Genentech – Roche will be able to  have the Law changed.


Israel Design Law Proposed

July 27, 2015

INdustrial design

In Israel, the design law in place is the 1922 Patent and Design Ordinance dating from the British Mandate.

The patent sections were canceled and replaced with the 1967 Israel Patent Law, but the design sections are still in force.

Now, nearly 100 years on, a proposed Design Law has been drafted (6 July 2015), and, if it undergoes three readings in the Knesset it may become law.

During the Knesset readings, it may undergo amendments, so it is by no means certain the the proposed law will be legislated as currently drafted. Nevertheless, the draft has a number of points of interest.

The term מדגם is being replaced with the term עיצוב to emphasize that the new design law does not only cover the design of physical objects of manufacture, but also the design of fonts and of computer icons and the like. This was largely to correct a wrong decision regarding fonts.

The previous law related to registered designs only. The new law offers protection for up to three years for non-registered designs, considered suitable for clothing fashions and other trends having limited shelf-life. This proposal will bring Israel into line with Europe where non-registered designs have limited protection. It is proposed that fonts, even if non-registered, will be entitled to up to 25 years of protection.

Currently, designs may be protected for up to 15 years. The proposed amendment will extend this period to 25 years, in line with Europe.

If a design is marketed in Israel as a non-registered design, it may, within 12 months, be registered.

The proposed Law adopts the Locarno Agreement Establishing an International Classification for Industrial Designs Signed at Locarno on October 8, 1968

Under the current regime, absolute local novelty is required. In an attempt to conform this to international practice, a Commissioner Circular M.N. 74 creatively interpreted disclosure on the Internet, particularly in Registered Design Databases from other jurisdictions, as novelty destroying. The proposed law requires absolute international novelty and significant differences from other designs.

Once the Law is passed, Israel may be able to join the Hague system for international design registration.

In an infamous decision known as A.SH.I.R.

ברע”א 5768/94 א.ש.י.ר יבוא יצור והפצה נ’ פורום אביזרים ומוצרי צריכה בע”מ ואח’, פ”ד נב)1998 ( 28

the Supreme Court ruled that the catch-all Law of Unjust Enrichment can be grounds for suing 1998 copiers of non-registered designs where there is some additional element of bad faith. The Proposed law is intended to make this no longer possible. Sanctions can still be obtained under specific laws such as trademark and fair trade ordinance, but Unjust Enrichment cannot be used where a design could have been registered but wasn’t. As a formalist, I am very pleased that A.Sh.I.R. is finally being put to rest.

Employee designs are considered the property of the employer. Here there is perhaps a lacuna in the Law. Designs are often, perhaps usually, created by subcontractors not employers. Consequently, instead of leaving everything to interpretation of contract law and work for hire, it may be sensible to clarify the status of industrial designs products by a design house for a company.