Israeli Patent Office to consider allowing for provisional applications

The Israeli Patent Office (ILPTO) has announced that it wishes to make a new procedure available for applicants to file for a provisional patent application with the ILPTO as a preliminary route before filing a full patent application at a relatively low initial cost.

One of the most important factors in a patent dispute is the patent application’s filing date. This is crucial to its eligibility and the earlier the application is filed, the better. However, this is not always possible. In order for an application to be eligible for patent registration, it must meet a series of conditions that vary from one patent office to another.

The ILPTO’s proposed amendment is similar to the provisional patent application available for applicants at the USPTO, wherein a patent application can be used to secure a filing date while avoiding the costs associated with the filing and prosecution of a full, non-provisional patent application. If a full patent application is filed within one year from the filing date of a provisional patent application, the full application may use the filing date of the provisional application. This application is not examined within the year, which allows the applicant to file as quickly as possible. Further, because a provisional patent application is not made public unless its application number is noted in a later-published, full patent application, the failure to file a full application based on a provisional application will not lead to public disclosure of the invention.

A provisional patent application essentially provides the applicant with a one-year extension to experiment, perfect the invention, determine its commercial value and sales potential, and find interested parties to license or sell the patent to, among other things – all with a ‘patent pending’ number, which provides protection from third parties. This extension of protection is granted before a full non-provisional patent application is filed. Since a provisional patent application is not examined during this period, the applicant can postpone the costs associated with filing a full non-provisional application for one year.

To this end, the ILPTO, with the assistance of the Israeli Ministry of Justice, has formulated an amendment to the Israeli Patent Regulations in order to allow the recognition of a provisional application. According to the proposed regulation (and similar to the equivalent US provisions), applicants may file a full application within one year from the date of filing a provisional patent application, while maintaining the original filing date of the provisional application. If the applicant does not file a full application, the provisional application will be automatically abandoned and will not be published.

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