During 2015, the Israel Patent Office Design Department underwent major efficiency improvements. The backlog from filing to examination was reduced to 5 1/2 months and during 2016, is expected to be reduced still further, to only three months. The Examiners have begun listing all required amendments in each office action, so there are typically fewer iterations and applications are typically allowed within a year of filing. This is considered highly desirable as designs typically have an ever shorter commercial life as product lifespans decreases. Published designs are now searchable on-line, making redundant trips to the Israel Patent Office merely to inspect the records. The full design registrations may be downloaded at the press of a button. There is a brand new Design Law making its way through the Knesset, which should replace the current 1924 Design Ordinance. During 2016, on-line registration and prosecution should be possible.
in 2016, a total of 1532 design applications were filed. This is about average for the last decade with a high of 1775 applications filed in 2008 and a low of 1351 in 2013. A total of 1,744 applications were allowed, which is the highest number ever.
14.4% of design applications (221 in total) were for building elements in class 25. 11.7% (180) were for containers. 10.6% (163) were for clothing; 8/1% (125) were for furniture, and 6.8% (105) for other household goods. 72% of Applications were for Israeli designs; 9% for designs originating in the US, and 4.5% for designs from Brazil. This anomaly is due to Grendene – a shoe manufacturer, and Stern a jewelers. 3% of designs come from Switzerland and from Holland, and 2% each from Italy, Luxembourg, France and the UK.
The new and somewhat Draconian three-month to respond to an office action regulation coupled with the requirement for examination to be completed within 12 months, has resulted in 1,178 applications being rejected. It seems that most designs are renewed for a second five-year period, but few are kept in force for the maximum 15 years.
The major applicants is Klil, a manufacturer of aluminium profiles for window frames and the like, with 81 applications This is followed by Naot, a shoemakers, with 64 applications. Monkey Business Design Israel LTD and Ototo Design LTD have 34 and 18 applications respectively. Other local users of the design registration system include another aluminium profile manufacturer, a further couple of design houses, another shoe manufacturer, Karshi, a manufacturer of mass-produced Judaica and Hassidic figurines, and Keter Plastics.
The requirements for a design registration are line drawings or photographs that define the article to be registered. Typically, one is required to submit front, back, left, right, top and bottom views and a perspective view. Where an article may be open or closed, both views are required. In addition, a form is required, providing details of the Applicant, the name of the design, the class of goods, priority claims, and the like. Finally a fee is required.
Each variant is typically required to be filed in separate applications. For articles sold as a set, such as crockery, cutlery, chessmen and the like, a single application may cover the different members of the set.
Examination is both procedural and substantive. Under the current 1924 design ordinance, there is no grace period, but only local novelty is required. The previous examiner ruled that Internet disclosure, particularly registrations in searchable design databases of other jurisdictions i that are accessible over the Internet, are novelty destroying. Under the Paris Convention, there is a six month period for filing designs and claiming benefit of a foreign filing date.
In Israel, designs are registerable for an initial period of five years which may be extended for up to two further five-year periods.