Eli Shimony - Israeli law firm who represent on all civil/commercial legal issues in Israel.
For any questions please contact us and we will be happy to assist. Email: [email protected], Tel: +972-52-2769773, +972-3-5507155.
What is the definition of patent in Israel?
A patent is defined in Israel as an "invention, whether a product or a process, in any technological field, which is new, beneficial, can be used in industry and presents progress in terms of invention" (Section 3 of the Israeli Patent Law, 5727-1967). This means in essence that a patent is a legal right to protect useful inventions in the technological – industrial field, such as: machines, devices, algorithms, material compositions, improvements of all of the foregoing, etc.
This is a right granted by the state to the owner of the invention, which allows him or her to register the patent in the patent registry, and by doing so to prevent others from using his invention without his permission for a limited period of time, which in Israel is 20 years. This means that the patent does not form any type of "manufacturing license" from the state, but only the right to prevent others from manufacturing it.
The patent is local, i.e.: it is only applicable in the country of its registration; however, pursuant to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, to which most of the countries of the world, including Israel, are signatories, an invention owner who has filed a patent application in one of these countries may file a patent application for the same invention in any of the other countries within one year, and enjoy a preferential rule under which these application shall be considered to have been filed already on the date in which the application was filed in the first country. This is also the case in Israel pursuant to Section 10 of the Patent Law.
Patents as foregoing apply only to inventions in the technological-industrial field; therefore, it is impossible to register a patent on the discovery of natural laws, on a marketing concept, on thought processes or scientific principles in themselves, processes for medical treatment of the human body etc. In addition, in Israel it is impossible to register a patent on a process for medical treatment of the human body and new species of plants or animals, except for microbiological organisms that were not derived from nature (Section 7 of the Law).
Registration of a computer software patent – in general, most of the countries of the world, except for the USA, do not allow registering a patent on computer software in itself, but only when the software is integrated in physical hardware.
In Israel, on the other hand, the situation is not completely clear, especially as so far, only two rulings were given on this matter. In the first, given in Miscellaneous Appeal 501/80 Rosenthal v. the Patent Registrar, the court determined that an invention mainly dealing with calculations or programming does not qualify for registration of a patent pursuant to Section 3 of the Law. However, despite this ruling, many patents were registered following it, that include computer software or applications. A few years later, the court determined in Miscellaneous Appeal 23/94 United Technologies Corp v. the Patent Registrar, that there is no problem in registering a patent on an invention only because the sole innovation in it is in the computer software component, as long as it does not reflect only a though process, but also a tangible and physical technological process.
As part of the guidelines published by the Patent Registrar in Israel, Adv. Asa Kling, on January 12, 2012, it was determined that it is possible to register a patent on computer software only when the software performs a tangible (physical) and measurable technological process in addition to the "ordinary" operation of the computer or system in which the invention is integrated, and of course under the condition that it meets the other conditions of the law.
How is a patent registered in Israel?
As foregoing, in order for the patent to have effect, it must be registered in the patent registry of each individual country, including in Israel. Before embarking on the registration of a patent in Israel, first you must ensure that it is a new invention, yet to be made public, in Israel and/or abroad (Section 4 of the law). For this purpose it is necessary to conduct a search, whether independently or through a professional patent agent, on the internet or using various databases.
Once we ensure that it is indeed a new invention, it is possible to commence the process of registering the patent with the Israeli patent registrar, pursuant to Chapter C of the law, and as detailed below:
1. Filing the patent registration application – first of all, it is necessary to file a patent registration application that includes, among other things, the inventor's details, a concise description of the invention (including through diagrams if necessary) and the details of its utility in its key applications. Additional documents must be attached to the application, as well as a confirmation of payment of the fee.
Although it is possible in principle to prepare the application documents by oneself, it is recommended that you consult a professional patent agent, since the manner of wording the application has a very material impact on the chances of its acceptance for registration (the more accurate and concise the wording is – the better the chances of its registration without any corrections), which improves the chances of protecting the patent once it is registered (the more comprehensive the wording is – the greater is the range of inventions the patent will protect).
2. Checking the application with the patent registrar – at this stage, a patent inspector, who scientifically educated in the field of the invention, ensures that the application meets all requirements for registration of a patent. For this purpose, he requests corrections and adjustments of the application, until the decision is made on its approval or rejection. Take into account that this phase can be lengthy, lasting about a year and a half, although it may be shortened as necessary, for example when a violation of the patent already occurs.
3. Publishing the application for the filing of objections – following its approval, the application will be published in the patent and design books for a 3-month period, in which it will be possible to file objections to its registration. In case no objections are filed – the patent is registered. In case objections are filed – the patent registrar discussed them and hears the parties' arguments until a decision on the matter is made, which may also be appealed at the district court.
4. Registration of the patent – once the patent application successfully passes all of the foregoing stages, the patent will be registered, and it will remain in effect as long as the renewal fees set by law are paid for it, and as long as it is not decided to cancel it. A patent in Israel is in effect for a 20-year period from the date of filing the patent application (Section 52 of the Patent Law), a period which may be extended pursuant to the provisions of the law.
The patent field in Israel, especially in all matters related to the processes of approving or canceling patents, is highly complex and requires knowledge and a profound familiarity with Israeli law and Israel's judicial systems and institutions relevant to this field, and therefore it is highly recommended to seek the advice and assistance of a professional and experienced lawyer in this field.
Eli Shimony - Israeli law firm representing clients on all civil/commercial legal issues in Israel. For any questions please contact us and we will be happy to assist.
Email: [email protected], Tel: +972-52-2769773, +972-3-5507155.
The above article is a general information only and it is not intended to replace a legal advice.