Trademarks are words, logos and designs that indicate the origins of goods or services. To be registered a mark should be distinctive and not a general term (generic) for the article. Merely laudatory terms such as ‘great’ or excellent’ are generally not registerable.
Unlike designs and patent applications which must be filed prior to use, trademark applications may be made after the desired mark is already being used in trade. Indeed, sometimes a term that might be considered generic, may, nevertheless, be registered if it can be shown to have acquired a secondary use.
The number of trademarks filed into Israel has stayed more or less constant since 2011. There has, however, been a significant rise of 23% in the number of International Applications filed with the Israel Patent Office (Trademark Division). The numbers are a little distorted since until 2010, only single class applications were accepted. Now multiple class applications are allowed. If one considers new applications multiplied by the number of classes, in 2015, some 20,525 new cases were filed which is almost double the number of cases in 2005.
Some 24% of trademark applications filed in Israel are filed by Israeli companies. An almost identical percentage (23.7% were filed by US corporations. 6.7% were from Germany, 6.1% from Switzerland, 5% from France, 4.3% from China, 3.9% from UK applicants, 3/5% from Italy, 2.2% from Japan and 1.7% from Turkey. The remaining 18.8% came from other places. Since 2010, the proportion of Applications filed in Israel by foreign entities has crept up from 70% to 76%.
On average, applications take nearly a year and a quarter for examination to commence, but then things move quickly and typically applications are then allowed within 3 1/2 months. Unlike patent applications where acceleration is discretionary and requires due cause, trademark applications may be accelerated merely by paying a fee. 438 cases were fast tracked in this manner.
By the end of 2015, there were 144,490 registered trademarks in effect, or 184,840 cases if multiple class marks are considered as separate cases.
Trademark applications in Israel are filed in both English and Hebrew.
REQUIRED AT TIME OF FILING
1. Applicant’s full details (if a company, this should include State of Incorporation).
2. A copy of the text or design/logo mark (for a design/logo mark, the mark may be filed as a JPEG).
3. The class(es) in which registration is to be sought. Israel is a party to the Nice Convention on Trademark Classification
4. A definition of all the goods or services to be covered in each application.
5. Details of the priority application (if relevant).
ALSO REQUIRED, BUT MAY BE FILED LATER
6. A certified priority document that should be submitted within three months of the filing date.
7. A certified translation of the priority document into English, where necessary.
8. A signed power of attorney
Israel examines trademark applications. Once a mark is allowed, it publishes for opposition purposes and third parties may oppose the mark. On average it takes between 12-14 months from filing an application until registration of the trademark. It is however possible to request accelerated examination, involving the payment of an additional official fee and filing of petition, and thereby secure examination of the application within one month of filing and feasibly secure registration within approximately 4-5 months (instead of 12-14 months).
Please note that no actual use of the mark is necessary for procuring the registration certificate from the Trademark Registry, nor is it necessary to file proof of use of the mark with the Registry. Notwithstanding, a third party may request the cancellation of a trademark on the grounds of non-use, where the mark has not been in use for a period of three years prior to the cancellation request, and the request is made no earlier than three years after the registration of the mark.