Shabbat Lifts Not for the Public Good

July 18, 2016

 

shabbat liftG.L. Glatt Lift Company LTD filed a patent application for a Shabbat Lift; an elevator that may be used on the Jewish Sabbath without transgression of the holy day. (The term Glatt relates to a standard for Kosher beef that the generally accepted Ashkenazi authorities consider a stringency. By transference, the term implies super-Kosher, or something similar. Many Jewish authorities allow usage of a lift that stops automatically, or riding in a lift in a hospital or similar if someone assumed to be non-Jewish operates it for their benefit. Other authorities are stricter. More discussion on this is given at the end of this article).

Maalit ShabbatIn this instance, the Applicants have filed a patent for a technological Hallachic solution that is allegedly novel and inventive and that is claimed to overcome the reservations of those Hallachic authorities that do not allow usage of the type of ‘Shabbat Lifts’ that are common in apartment blocks with religious residents.

Israel Patent Application No. IL 221842 titled “Shabbat Lift” was submitted on 9 September 2012 The application claims priority from a US provisional application number 61/533,244 that was filed on 11 September 2011, and a corresponding PCT applicaition, No PCT/IB2012/054604 was also filed.

On 13 October 2015, the Applicants received a Notice Prior to Examination to which they responded on 1 February 2016 with a list of prior art. The submission of a response to the Notice Prior to Examination creates a state of affairs by which the application is ready for examination (see 5.3 of the Examination Procedure for Examiners).

On 1 February 2016 the Applicant also submitted a request for accelerated examination, which is a petition to make special. The justification for the request was that awarding the patent was in the public interest.

The Applicant claimed that the lack of appropriate Shabbat lifts prevented high-rise accommodation for the Ultra-Orthodox and the proposed solution would overcome this barrier. The Applicant considered that his invention would facilitate high-rise Ultra-Orthodox accommodation and thereby minimize land usage (by increasing the population density) and would thereby lower building costs.The solution would also make life easier for the ill, the elderly and children who could not use elevators on Shabbat. Various articles regarding the lack of accommodation for the Ultra-Orthodox were appended.

The statement was not specific, but it appears that the legal support was claimed from Section 19a (v) and (vi) that state that:

An applicant for accelerated examination with reasonable arguments may submit a reasoned request, together with a statement supporting the facts; all of the following, inter alia, may be considered reasonable justification:

(5) common good;

(6) special justifiying circumstances.

Generally patents are examined in turn so ‘first come, first served’ as per Section 9 of the Patent Law:

If more than one applicant request a patent for the same invention, he that first applied will prevail. 

The order of examination is generally on a ‘first come, first served’ basis as per Section 34a of the regulations:

34a the applications will be allocated to each internal classification group and within each classification group, will be examined in turn. 

Examination in turn both facilitates Section 9 and also ensures that relevant prior art is available to the Examiner. The first come, first served regime is itself in the public interest – See ruling re Petition to make special Israel Patent Application no. IL 216870 to Cimas Limited, 24 March 2014.

The possibility for making an application special is an exception to the general rule. It undermines the principle of first come first served, makes the examination more difficult and arguably damages the quality of the examination.  For example, a queue jumping application may be examined and allowed without realizing that an earlier filed application that was not examined challenges the novelty or inventiveness of the claims. Any fast-tracking results in other applications being delayed and is thus against the public interest.

Fast tracking risks unfairness, but the legislators allow it under circumstantes detailed in Section 19a of the Law where there is an over-riding public intereest or special circumstances. Secton 19a was legislated in the 10th amendment to the patent law that came into effect on 12 July 2012. From examination of the discussion at the committee state it is clear that the Commissioner has the discretion to explain the law. It is clear that the type of justification that is acceptable is extreme circumstances. For example: : there could be circumstances that a dramatic discovery is like an earthquake and is positive for the State of Israel. (Isaak Herzog, Knesset legislative committee discussion of 13 March 2012).

The justifications listed in Section 19a were actually those for third parties to request an application be fast-tracked but there is no reason to suppose that they are not applicable to requests by the Applicant himself. Nevertheless it appears that what the legislators intended was something of interest to the entire population as of national interest for the whole population and not for micro-economic interests of one sector or another. There is an underlying assumption of public interest in all patents. The only justification for ever granting a patent (i.e. a monopoly, albeit limited in time and geographical application) is that there is a national interest in micro-economic profits and technological progress.

No-one challenges the fact that each patent provides a different public interest depending on the type of invention and its application. There is no clear economic or social scale that can be used to rank different patents. However the same term is generally understood in the same manner in different legislation to provide coherency (see Aharon Barak, Volume 2, Legislative Interpretation, Nevo 1993 pages 313 and 321. Thus the term “common good” in Section 19a of the patent law is a priori similar to the term in Section 122 which discusses forced licenses. Section 122 states:

The Commissioner, where he comes to consider the request for a compulsory license under Section 117 should consider, inter alia:….

….

(2) the common good generally obliges that all inventions should provide the protected goods by manufacturing or import, so enable widest possible supply in the circumstances, without delay.. 

The DIstrict Court ruled in 881/94 Eli Lilly and Company vs. TEVA Pharmaceuticals LTD 25 November 1998:

In the field of patents, the common interest is the main and dominant cause for determining balances and rights. There may be a specific basis for worrying for private interest of the specific owners, and a patent an be considered as a reward that the legislators bestows on the entrepreneur. But the main justification of the patent system is the public considerations of utility and profit that affect the community taken as a whole. Whilst it is true that a patent provides protection to an individual, the existence of the right and its extent are determined by how much they fulfill the public interest. In this regard a patent is like a compulsory license. In both cases a personal right is provided to an individual but the underlying rationale for granting the rights is the common good. Just as the compulsory license is not granted for the benefit of the applicant, similarly a patent is only granted to the owners because it is in the public interest. It is not a balance between private rights and the public interest, but rather a balance between different public interests that together define the common good.

Thus the common good in this instance, as with compulsory licenses, is the result of balancing different public interests. Where the Applicant desires to depart from the general balance of interests including the principle of ‘first come first served’, the justification for jumping the queue has to be something weighty of significance to the wider public or a positive macro economic effect.

Furthermore, from when the application is filed until it eventually issues as a patent, there is nothing preventing the applicant from implementing the invention described in the patent application, enabling the public to benefit immediately. The enforcement of a patent is of economic interest to the patentee only. First tracking is not in the public interest at all. It only serves the applicant.

Without addressing the issue of patentability at all at this stage, the Commissioner does not thing that the present invention is more ‘public good’ than other inventions and, as the applicant himself testified, it serves a specific population segment only. The petition to make special did not include any economic calculation to show why it was justified.

Although the above arguments relate to the ‘public good’ they are equally applicable to the ‘special reasons justifying advancing the examination’. Consequently the application for fast-tracking is rejected and the application will be examined in turn.

Ruling by Commissioner Asa Kling Concerning Making Special Israel Patent Application Number IL 221842 to Glatt Lifts LTD., 14 June 2016 

COMMENTS

Very few inventions positively affect everyone. If something could help 10% of the population, it seems to me that it should be considered of significance, whether the population is women, AIDs sufferers, people living near the Gazan border, parents of small children or the Ultra-Orthodox. I don’t see any reason why common good should be interpreted as of value to people across the population without regard to race, age, religion, religiosity or sexual orientation.

The underlying presumption of the Applicant is that conventional elevators do more electrical work for each passenger riding in the elevator and that this is against the laws of Shabbat to rely on Shabbat settings on lists. If this assumption is true, it affects all Jews and most of Israel’s population is Jewish. Even if many Jews are not Observant, and many more are not persuaded that using currently available Shabbat lifts are not acceptable I suspect that from the Applicant’s perspective, Shabbat observance is of value and desecration is problematically regardless of the religious philosophy of the Jew in question. It may be what’s preventing the Messiah from coming. Furthermore, the State of Israel accepts the principle of Shabbat observance as being of national interest by not allowing trading on Shabbat and by not having Shabbat desecration by the Head of State, ambassadors, etc. and by requiring Shabbat observance on army bases apart from where security considerations take precedence.

For more details of the ruling (wrongly???) attributed to Rav Elyashiv, see here. See also a report in the Yeshiva World (sic) and one from the UK’s Daily Telegraph. Rabbi Yisrael Rozen’s ruling allowing both ascending and descending in Shabbat Elevators and listing what modifications are required to enable an elevator to be used on Shabbat may be found here (Tchumin 5, 75; see also article by Professor Lev in same volume, page 58).

I took the liberty of reviewing IL 221842 to Glatt Lifts LTD and its claims. If I was examining it for patentability, I would disallow it as not being enabled. It may be enabled from the perspective of the Hallachic problem it is trying to solve, but in my opinion, it does not provide a solution that enables a person of the art to go away and build a working lift without undue experimentation which is the standard for which patent applications are judged.


Amending the Specification of an Opposed Patent Application

July 7, 2016

abbvie.png

Under Israel Law, allowed patent applications publish for opposition purposes for three months prior to issuing. If an opposition is filed, the issuance may be delayed for rather longer, if the patent issues at all.

As a general rule, the Applicant may amend ‘scribal errors’ i.e., typos in the specification and may narrow the scope of coverage of the claims, but cannot add material or widen the claims to cover something not previously within their ambit. In practice, applicants often request amendments that are allegedly permissible but which the opposer considers as somehow adding material or widening the monopoly sought. Sometimes amendments are opposed as a delaying tactic as until a patent issues, it cannot be enforced.

In the present instance, the application in question is IL 122546 to Abbvie Inc. titled “COMBINATION OF RITONAVIR AND A DRUG METABOLIZED BY CYTOCHROME P450 MONOXYGENASE AND PHARMACEUTICAL COMPOSITION COMPRISING THE SAME”, which was filed two decades ago on 28 June 1996 by Abbot Laboratories as the national phase of PCT/US1996/0011015 which itself claims priority from a US provisional application (no 60/000654) filed on 29 June 1995. The case was transferred to Abbvie in June 2013.

The case was allowed and published for opposition purposes on 31 January 2012, and on 29 April 2012 oppositions were filed by Vertex Pharmaceuticals and by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries LTD.

Abbvie petitioned to amend the claims and this interim ruling relates to the proposed amendment and examines whether it is supported and whether it is indeed a narrowing of the scope of the claims.

last minuteIn his ruling of 2 May 2016, the Commissioner Asa Kling allowed the amendments to the claims but this is an interim ruling anyway and the patent, if eventually granted, will lapse anyway 20 years from filing on 29th June 2016. This begs the question as to the point of continuing with the opposition?!

The ruling has been carefully translated and is reproduced below but I have added a break as it may not be of interest to everyone…

Read the rest of this entry »


Can a Patent Opposition be Suspended?

June 14, 2016

On IL 181596 to Insight Biopharmaceuticals LTD titled “PROCESS FOR PREPARATION OF MIXTURES OF POLYPEPTIDES USING PURIFIED HYDROBROMIC ACID” publishing for opposition purposes, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries LTD filed an Opposition.  However, just before publication, Insight filed a Divisional Application (IL 241702).

Teva requested that the Opposition be suspended, pending Examination of the Divisional application claiming that the claims of the two cases are substantially identical and that Insight agreed to the suspension.

Ms Jacqueline Bracha has given Insight 14 days to agree to concur to the request to suspend the Opposition and to explain why it is an appropriate action to take in this case.

 


Where Agent-of-Record Moves, Resulting in Patent Application Lapsing

June 14, 2016

dead

Where no response to an Office Action is received, the Israel Patent Office eventually sends a notice of imminent abandonment to the agent of record and then a month later sends the agent of record a notice of the file closing. Where a patent application is unintentionally abandoned, the Applicant may reinstate within 12 months. Beyond this time-frame, it is more difficult as the Patent Office considers that abandoned applications are in the public domain. But what happens where the Agent of Record does not receive the Notice due to a change of address?

IL 198531 to Cheil Industries INC was filed on 4 May 2009 as the National Phase Entry of PCT/KR/2006/005109 by Hizkiya-Hachmon Law Offices. The Israel Patent Office mistyped the Agent of Record’s name as Hizkiya-Hashmiyon Lawyers. The Deputy Commissioner blamed the lawyers for the mistake since they filled out the Application form with their name in English and not in Hebrew as they should have.

On 17 August 2010, the Agent of Record updated their address in a response to an Office Action.

The Patent Office sent an Office Action on 30 August 2012 and no response was received. Consequently, on 25 June 2013, a reminder was sent, again to the address of record, and when no response was submitted, the Application was deemed abandoned under Section 21 of the Law.

On 24 December 2015, Adv Tal Rosenthal, who works for the Agent of Record, filed a request for an extension for reconsideration, blaming the Israel Patent Office for the case going abandoned. Hizkiya-Hachmon Law Offices argued that they had informed the Patent Office about their address, but the Israel Patent Office had failed to update its records. Since the name of the Agent of Record was wrong, post was not forwarded to them. This prevented them responding in a timely manner. As evidence of their claims, they submitted an envelope with the wrong address that was returned to the Patent Office as undeliverable.

RULING

Sections 21 and 21a of the Israel Patent Law 1967 state:

21A. If the Registrar refused to accept an application under section 21, then he may— on the applicant’s application—reconsider the refusal, on condition that the application be submitted within 12 months after the day on which the Registrar refused to accept it as aforesaid.

21B. The applicant may cancel his patent application up to the grant of the patent; however, the Registrar may cancel the cancellation on conditions prescribed by him, on condition that he is satisfied that the application was cancelled unlawfully.

Where the 12 month period stated in Section 21 has passed, the Commissioner may, nevertheless, reinstate a patent application in exceptional circumstances under Section 164a which states:

164.—(a) The Registrar may, if he sees reasonable cause for doing so, extend any time prescribed by this Law or by regulations under it for the performance of anything at the Office or before the Registrar, except for the times prescribed in sections 30, 56, 57, 61, 64F, 64M…

As the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Bracha sees it, Section 21a gives the timeline for an Applicant to restore an Application. Section 164a gives the Commissioner sweeping powers to reinstate but has to be applied with consideration of the fine balance between the Applicant’s interest and that of the public; see 2806/04 Commissioner of Patents vs. Recodati Ireland LTD.

The Agent-of-Record is attempting to justify his request by blaming the Israel Patent Office for not updating his address and for getting their name wrong on envelopes sent by the Israel Patent Office.

Regulation 16 obliges the Applicant to provide an address. This may be changed, however in this instance, the Agent of Record has not been able to produce any request to the Israel Patent Office that they update their address. At a hearing on 27 March 2016, the Agent failed to produce any request to change the address of record and failed to show that they had paid the requisite fee. They were given a further 14 days to produce the paperwork but still failed to do so.

Essentially, the Agent of Record could have filed a request to correct the firm’s name and to update their address over a five-year period but failed to do so.

Whilst the response of 17 August 2010 was sent on headed paper bearing the new address, which indicates retroactively that the address had changed, this is insufficient to cause the Israel Patent Office to update its records. Furthermore, in that response the agent-of-record should have noted that the firm’s name and address were wrong and taken steps to rectify this.

Three years had passed from this case going belly up, and the Agent of Record could have checked the status on-line but failed to do so.

(It is also noted that Adv Tal Rosenthal claimed that the firm moved in 2011 and in the summary it transpired that it actually happened in 2010, so not only is the blame wrongly attributed to the Patent Office, but the Agent of Record could not even get their story straight).

In summary, the application went abandoned due to the Agent of Record making numerous mistakes. This makes it difficult to apply Section 164a to reinstate the Application; particularly due to the long period that has passed.  Unlike the  Penoles case (IL 211582) where PCZL requested a change of address of record, but the Israel Patent Office messed up, in this case, the Agent of Record ignored the wrong name of firm and made no effort to update their address.  There is no ‘reasonable grounds’ for reinstatement and the Public Interest is served by finality so something abandoned should stay abandoned. The request for reinstatement is rejected.

 

 


IPR’s Best Practices in Intellectual Property Conference 2016

June 5, 2016

ipr 2016.jpg

Despite having piles of work accumulating after INTA last week, I was privileged to attend the IPR conference in Tel Aviv on Monday and Tuesday. This was the fourth annual conference on Best Practices in Intellectual Property, and organizer Kim Lindy had lined up a well thought out program with some impressive speakers such as David Kappos, the former director of the USPTO and Dr Joo Sup Kim, the Vice President of IP at LG Electronics.

Most of the presenters and moderators were practitioners from abroad whose firms were subsidising the event. Nevertheless, the sessions were practical and meaningful, and the training sessions the following day were well constructed and well presented. The speakers took care not to cover the same material. The cost required from participants was low and the conference was very good value for money.

This was less academic and more practical than the AIPPI conference held a couple of months ago, . From a head-count, attendance hovered at the 100 mark including the numerous speakers. the audience consisted mostly of in-house counsel in industry but also some of the junior attorneys at a couple of the larger firms. As usual, most practitioners in private practice, particularly the senior partners, boycotted the event. However, to be fair, following closely both INTA and Biomed may have made it difficult for some to find the time. Clearly, from the non-attendance of the IPAA general meeting, that wasn’t a reason for service providers not attending as they ignored that as well, but the AIPPI conference being held in March instead of in the autumn can’t have helped.

As the topics covered included the new unitary patent in Europe, 101 rejections in the post Alice wonderland, EPO opposition procedures and other up-to-date topics, I think that those private practitioners who did not attend but continue to give expensive advice to clients are doing those clients a disservice.  I found the sessions sufficiently interesting that I chose from the three tracks on offer and did not flit from one session to another to be able to fairly review the event as a whole.

sheraton.jpg

The Sheraton is a quality hotel and the refreshments, from breakfast, through coffee breaks, three course lunch and Finnegan sponsored cocktail reception, reflected this.

kappos.JPG

With typical American jingoism, former USPTO director (and Howard Poliner lookalike) David Kappos spoke about the importance of continued US preeminence in patenting after the forthcoming presidential elections, regardless of the outcome. Despite his convictions, and although finding Milton Freedman both more convincing than Marx and far more readable, I don’t see how a free market economy can compete with a directed, centralized economy having a much larger population and pursuing IP with vigour. I expect that over the next presidential term of office, the US will fall behind China in all meaningful measurements of IP. Personally, I found the presentation of the other keynote speaker, Dr Joo Sup Kim of LG, disappointing and lacking in deep insights.

fireside chat

Daniella Azmony and Michael Fink of Greenblum and Bernstein co-chaired a session on using IP to advance business objectives. On the panel, Gerson Panitch of Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett and Dunner pushed the importance of patent mining. He noted that he was able to find inventions to be patented for his clients that the engineers considered obvious. This strategy may explain how Finnegan got to be the largest IP firm and why the firm was celebrating its 100th Israeli client (a number I surpassed years ago). The problem is that Finnegan’s Juristat_Top_100 (1) filing ranking of 22nd is far above their allowance ranking of 115, their number of office actions to allowance ranking of 115 and their time to allowance ranking of 126. In other words, it is not just the engineer inventors that are not convinced that their inventions are patentable, but Finnegan seems to have a problem convincing the Examiners as well! Where they do succeed, it is a long, hard slog. Thus their service is not merely expensive and overly US focused, but they don’t deliver the goods either. In a further session, Finnegan partner Jeffrey Berkowitz referred to the firm calling the director of the USPTO to complain about specific Examiners. This arrogant and aggressive tactic doesn’t seem to help them  get cases allowed either. Nevertheless, the canapes at their celebratory cocktail party after the conference were delicious, with seared tuna, smoked salmon, chopped liver pate, and other nibbles. The cocktails themselves were Bucks Fizz, and tasted like orange juice that has began to ferment. Finnegan also provided a live band (not Bucks Fizz, but a three-piece suite brass band). They certainly know how to throw a good party.

Dr Kim and  Barry Schindler (Greenberg and Traurig) held what was romantically called a fireside chat, but no fire was in evidence. There were parallel sessions for beginners and more advanced. There was little in the way of swag. Kim Lindy gave everyone a mobile phone charging lead on a reel that was apparently sponsored by Finnegan but for some reason did not have their logo on, IP Factor gave out boxes of their PC Teabags, a type of patent medicine and cure-all for treating IP related stresses, and Mintz Levin gave out a useful book reading lamp consisting of white LEDs on a flexible stem.

The following day had several parallel master classes. In the ones I attended, Jakob Pade Frederiksen of Inspicos P/S, a Danish firm gave a very good presentation about EPO Oppositions which are quite different from Israeli and US opposition procedures. This was followed by Barry Schindler (Greenberg and Traurig) who gave an excellent though quirky presentation, arguing that when responding to office actions in the US, accusing the Examiner of using inadmissible hindsight was a waste of time, as was citing case-law since very few examiners had a legal background.  Respectfully noting various arguments was unnecessary. He explained how examiners are taught to examine and the limited time available to them. He advocated citing from the M.P.E.P., amending claims to make the examiner feel good, incorporating explanatory wherein clauses from the specification and limiting substantive arguments to two pages. Much of what he said made sense, albeit some comments were somewhat exaggerated.

If I have a criticism of the event, it is that I think that a session on prosecuting patent applications in Israel would have been a valuable addition. Some of the in-house counsel were involved directly or indirectly in expensive and time-consuming oppositions before the Israel Commissioner. Personally, I think that in the post IAI era, first filing in Israel makes sense, and filing in Israel offers a good tool against ex-employees competing with Israel companies. However, from issues discussed over coffee, it seems that one in-house counsel files provisionals and Israel applications simultaneously but can’t explain why, calling it inertia. One lawyer felt that standard assignment contract clauses were adequate, but admitted to having no idea of the case-law. When discussing a presentation made on behalf of the IPAA to entrepeneurs (where I was on the panel reviewing slides), it was clear that some eminent members of the profession were unaware of renewal schedules for Israel patents.  It seems that apart from occasionally reading this blog, many Israel Patent Attorneys do little to keep up with local developments once they are licensed. I think this is a shame.


He Messed Up, So Why Should We Care?

June 2, 2016

same boat

In a previous post I called for the IPAA, AIPPI and other professional organizations to file amicus briefs when Colb appeals the patent office decision relating to IL 159324, that an unintentionally abandoned patent could not be reinstated as his firm’s usage of a manual docketing system was indicative of lack of due care.

A large number of colleagues met at INTA and at the IPR conference including Colb employees have told me that they agree with me. At the farewell reception at INTA, I bumped into a pod of Israeli Attorneys. Two of them told me they agreed, but the third one took the attitude “why should we care? – It’s Colb’s problem”.  One of the others pointed out that next time it could be one of them. This is certainly true, as noone is infallible. However, that is only part of the picture.

If the decision is not reversed on Appeal, I expect that either all of us will be paying additional malpractice insurance or the insurance companies will explicitly not cover claims made in renewal related services. Every time someone else is sued, the field is considered more dangerous.  Clients will be forced to pay more as the cost of insurance will be rolled on to them.

To put it another way, we are all in the same boat…


Annual General Non-Meeting of IPAA

June 1, 2016

 

 

AGM

For illustrative purposes only       IPAA

I missed the AGM of the IPAA (Israel Patent Attorney Association) yesterday. I would have gone to the meeting when originally scheduled, but the last-minute cancellation and rescheduling at short notice was inconvenient.

I was attending a couple of Master Class sessions at the IPR best practices conference Tuesday morning. I could have hung around in Tel Aviv for the AGM, but, after INTA, had a lot of work backlogged. I also had a family wedding up North in the evening.

I understand that there are about 200 registered members of the organization, of whom 15 turned up. No doubt, some of the others, like me, had previous engagements. Others simply could not be bothered to attend, what was, at best, a waste of time. The votes were carried by a large majority of 40 or so, since proxy voting is allowed. Thus Reinhold Cohen as a firm, set the agenda, and with only 2-3 members of that firm turning up either, there wasn’t much point in making impassioned speeches to influence the voting, as the voters weren’t present anyway.

In the recent past, I have suggested the organization files an amicus brief in support of Colb’s anticipated appeal against the Israel Patent Office decision that without computer docketing, one is guilty of lack of due care. I spoke to Einav the day before the AGM and sent her the ruling and my comments. However, this suggestion was not discussed. But then again, apparently nothing of substance was.

There has been no attempt to find out why most licensed patent attorneys do not pay subscriptions and those that do, still do not attend the meetings.

On Monday, I spotted Einav, our esteemed co-opted chairperson, chatting at length with a non-licensed practitioner at the Best Practices Conference. I do not know what her position is regarding someone who ‘manages’ patent strategy and portfolios for clients, i.e. not an in-house employee but a service provider. The person in question describes himself as being a paralegal. He does not write patent applications. He may be good at what he does, however, there is a world of difference between working under supervision of a licensed attorney-at-law or a licensed patent attorney and taking the lead in managing cases where one cannot qualify as either, not having the basic qualification of a law degree or a science degree required to then work in house and pass professional exams.  If such a cowboy non-licensed practitioner makes a mistake, it may affect the insurance premiums across the industry. He presumably does not have insurance, not being a professional.

There are previously licensed US patent attorneys and patent agents who have surrendered their licenses pending disciplinary action, who are offering services in Israel. Their CVs, websites and Facebook pages are less than unambiguous as to their status. They do not come under the oversight of the Israel Patent Office disciplinary committee. There is also a felon wanted by the FBI who is working for one of the Israeli firms.

At the other end of the spectrum are US firms that have opened offices here and work with Israeli industry and start-ups directly. The legality of this is not clear. Where the in-house counsel of the client is a patent attorney or lawyer, there is someone in the picture who knows the law regarding where applications must first be filed locally, Israel labour law regarding employees, and the like. This is however, often not the case.   The code of ethics of the IPAA relates to making derogatory comments regarding other Israel Patent Attorneys. However, I have heard from Israeli practitioners that at least one prominent US firm with a large presence in Israel does not see itself bound in this regard.

I thik that the IPAA should relate to these issues. It is not. What the IPAA is doing, at present, is helping finance IP events organized by other bodies, such as the AIPPI. This may get IPAA committee members onto panels and chairing sessions, but I would argue that this is misuse of membership funds. The IPAA could usefully subsidize paid up members attending training events put on by others, including the IPR conference for example, but why use members’ subscription fees to pay for non-patent attorneys to be trained? How does this help Israel Patent Attorneys?

Note, I am not against patent attorneys training prospective or actual clients, running sessions for attorneys at law, or sponsoring such conferences. I contribute myself. This blog is primarily a vehicle for education that is open to all readers, professional or otherwise. What I object to is the use of the Association’s funds for this purpose.


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