What is patent ?

A patent is a legal document provided by the state to the owner of an invention for a limited time (usually 20 years).

Patent registration confers the patentee the right to monopolize the use of the invention so that only the patentee can make uses of the invention, which are also defined by law, such as: manufacturing, distribution, reproduction, sale, and additional actions that will allow him or her to profit from the patent.

A patent is a social contract between the owner of the invention and the public – in exchange for disclosure of technological knowledge, the owner of the invention receives fixed-term monopoly rights, including the right to prevent others from using the invention – a right that allows the inventor the exclusive right to enjoy the fruits of his or her work during the time period in which the patent is valid.

The objective of a patent is to encourage and provide incentives for various technological developments that can contribute greatly to the society in the country in which the patent was registered.


Criteria for obtaining a patent

The definition of a patentable invention according to the Israeli patent law, 1967 is:

"An invention, whether a product or a process in any technological field, that is novel, useful and can be used industrially and involve an inventive step - is a patentable invention."

As defined by law, a patent will be granted for an invention that is a product or a process technological in nature - this is the prerequisite for a patent. In addition, the invention must meet the following criteria:
  • A novel invention – the definition for a novel invention is an invention that has not been disclosed in public before filing the application.
  • An invention that involves an inventive step – an advancement that is not considered obvious to a professional skilled in the art with knowledge and understanding in the field.
  • A beneficial invention – an invention that is useful and enables the use for which it is intended.
  • Qualified for industrial use – today, the more accurate interpretation is that the invention should be suitable for industrial production.

An invention must be defined as an invention rather than a discovery or a natural law since these are public domain and therefore, cannot be registered as a patent or receive legal protection.  In addition, the Israeli Patent Law states that the following cannot be patented (1) a method of a medical treatment of the human body and (2) new species of animals or varieties of plants.

Inventions based on software alone or a method of doing business is currently not accepted in Israel.  However, as recently decided by the Registrar of Patents, one can obtain a patent on an invention that combines software and a device or any system, when the function of the software enhances the performance of the device or system.  It is important that a patent attorney drafting inventions of this kind emphasizes and drafts the application and the claims in a manner that highlights that the new software enhances the performance of the system or device and that integration of the new software and the device or system has novelty and inventive step.


Obtaining a patent:

A patent registration in Israel is made by the Patent Authority in Jerusalem.

An orderly request must be prepared, which includes the details of the applicant and the specification of the invention.  The specification includes the name of the invention, a description of the invention and the claims.  The description of the invention must include at least one way of carrying out the invention that allows a professional to perform.

It is important to be extremely diligent in the professional drafting of the application and to describe the invention in intricate detail - amateur drafting may be a factor in that the patent will not be registered even in cases where the invention possesses a very high potential value, or, the patent may be registered but at a lesser degree of protection than the maximal possible protection, as a result of amateur drafting skills.  Therefore, it is crucial to turn to a patent attorney with the experience and knowledge relevant to the invention for drafting your patent application.

The application has to be submitted to the Patent Office, and while there it will be examined by a patent examiner.

In cases where defects or any problems are discovered in the invention, the examiner will send to the patent attorney an examination report that includes a detailed description of the defects and objections. Your patent attorney will draft a response to the examination report. The response could consist of a required amendment and/or relevant explanations. The response to the examination report must be made within the timeframe specified in advance by the examiner.

If, at the end of the examination process, the examiner concludes that the invention is patentable, the next step will be the publication of a notice in the journal of patents regarding the acceptance of the application – the publication will include the name of the invention, details about the owner and a summary of the invention. This publication is designed to allow the filing of objections to the grant of the patent; objections have to be based on grounds specified under the law.

If during three months from the date of publication no objection is filed, the patent will be registered and will be valid for 20 years from the date of filing the application, subject to the payment of renewal fees.


First come first served

As is customary around the world, in Israel, too, the applicant first to file for a patent will be entitled to a patent application for the claimed invention.


Local protection

Since patent registration is territorial, meaning that protection is limited to the country in which the patent is registered, an applicant has to apply for a patent in each country in which he/she wants to have patent protection for his/her invention.

The first filing date of the application is the priority filing date of the filed application and of any additional applications to be filed at a later stage in the various countries. An owner of an invention who filed a patent application in a particular country may apply for a patent for the same invention in all the countries party to the Paris Convention, or alternatively, for an international application in accordance with the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), at any time before the end of the first year from the filing date of the first application.  The owner of the invention will enjoy having priority to which the filing date of applications filed in different countries will be entitled, which will be the filing date of the first application filed.
Dr. Sharona Lahav - Patent Attorney    
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