Contributed By Gilat, Bareket & Co., Reinhold Cohn Group
Patent applications are filed with the Israeli Patent Office (ILPTO). The requirements of patentability are set forth in the Patents Act and are clarified in court judgments and in the Practice Guidelines for Patent Examination, published by the ILPTO.
After filing the patent application, it usually takes a few years until examination commences. There is no need to request examination. Under certain circumstances, the applicant may request an expedited examination (eg, in cases of elderly inventors, 'green applications', or where a third party began exploiting the invention).
A third party may also submit a request for an expedited examination, accompanied by an affidavit, in the following circumstances:
Companies may use this option against competitors and to reduce the period of uncertainty in the market.
There are also modified examinations, whereby a patent is granted based on a corresponding foreign patent, without undergoing substantive examination in Israel. Patent Prosecution Highway examination is also available for some countries.
Shortly after a local application is filed, the Registrar of Patents will publish the name of the applicant, the application date and information regarding priority (if claimed).
The patent application remains confidential for 18 months from the date of filing or, if priority is claimed, 18 months from the date of the earliest priority document. Shortly after the expiry of the 18 months, the fact that the application is laid open for inspection is published again by the Registrar of Patents. Until 2012, patent applications would have remained confidential until acceptance of the application (see below) by the Patent Office.
International (PCT) applications are also published under the same principles, but since these applications are usually filed shortly before the 30-month deadline for filing the national phase expires, they become available to the public shortly after filing.
Third party observations may also be submitted; see 1.7 Third-Party Rights to Participate in Grant Proceedings.
After the examination is concluded and the patent examiner accepts the application, the acceptance of the application is published online.
During a period of three months following such publication, third parties may lodge a pre-grant opposition to the grant of the patent. If no opposition is filed during this period, the patent is granted, and a patent certificate will be issued. If an opposition is filed, the Patent will be granted only after the opposition is dismissed and if appealed, after the appeal is dismissed).