Israel adheres to the major multilateral IPR agreements. While Israel has a legislative framework to ensure protection of intellectual property rights, enforcement is lacking in all areas. The government's lack of sufficient resources for IPR enforcement is the primary cause for inadequate arrests, prosecutions and convictions. Furthermore, most of Israel's current laws regarding IPR protection are outdated and require revision. The country has been drafting and reviewing new legislation for over four years in the areas of patents, copyrights, trademarks, industrial designs, integrated circuits, and cable broadcasting.
Israel, a member of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, protects patents under the Patent Law of 1967 for a period of twenty years from the date of filing the application. Any novel invention, whether a process or a product that involves an inventive step and is used in industrial or agricultural applications may be patented.
In order to register a patent, the Israeli Patent Law also requires the patent to be new and novel worldwide. Any publications or exploitation of a patentable invention anywhere in the world, prior to the date of registration in Israel will prevent the patent from being registered.
A patent application must be filed with the Patent Office and include the specifications of the patent. The Patent Office conducts an examination, which may take up to three years from the date of filing the applications, to determine whether the patent conforms to the Patent Law and regulations. At the end of the examination, if the application is approved, a notice of acceptance is published in the Patent Journal. From the date of publication and for a period of three consecutive months thereafter, any person may oppose the registration of the patent. If no objection is filed or if such objection is dismissed, the patent may be granted and registered.
Under the Trademark Ordinance of 1972, registered trademarks are protected for periods of 14 years each, renewable indefinitely upon the payment of renewal fees.
The Trademark Ordinance provides that a trademark shall not be registered unless it distinguishes between the goods of the owner of the trademark and the goods of others. An application for the registration of a trademark must be filed with the Registrar of Trademarks and must include a description of the trademark and goods.
The Trademark Office conducts an examination of trademarks, which usually lasts for a period of about two years. After such examination, if a trademark conforms to the requirements of the Trademark Ordinance, a notice of acceptance is published. Within three months of this publication, any person may object to the registration on the grounds of ineligibility. Unless such an objection is filed, or if such an objection is filed but is dismissed, the trademark will be granted and registered.
Recent Israeli legislation regarding pharmaceutical patents has raised foreign concern about adequate protection for patented foreign pharmaceutical products registered in Israel. In 1998, Israel passed an amendment to its patent law, permitting Israeli firms to begin pre-expiry activity regarding international patented drugs for purposes of registration in countries other than Israel. In 1999, Israel passed an amendment allowing parallel imports of foreign patented drugs.
Under the United Kingdom Copyright Law of 1911, protection is given to rights of the creators of works that are original and are literary, artistic, dramatic or musical works. Such protection is automatic and no formal application is required in order to obtain such right. The Copyright Law extends the protection for the lifetime of the creator or author; an additional 50 years of protection are granted for musical and artistic work, and 7years for literary and dramatic work. Computer programs are within the framework of this Law.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)