Israel's new roles under the Patent Cooperation Treaty
In June 2012 the Israeli Patent Office will start functioning as an international search authority and an international preliminary examining authority under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). Israel will join the 14 international search authorities already established under the PCT (the United States, Russia, the European Patent Office, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Canada, Finland, Sweden, Brazil, Austria, the Nordic nations (Norway, Denmark and Iceland) and Spain).
In September 2009, during the annual meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Israel was appointed as an international search authority and an international preliminary examining authority under the PCT. Egypt was also appointed as an international search authority and an international preliminary examining authority at the same meeting; however, no date has yet been set for Egypt to start providing services.
Since WIPO's decision, the Patent Office has made substantial efforts to meet the PCT requirements for an international search authority and an international preliminary examining authority. New examiners have been recruited and the examiners have been trained through courses and seminars in Israel and abroad. The Patent Law has been amended to enable the Patent Office to function as an international authority and a modern and efficient automated patent processing system has been acquired, enabling the electronic filing and handling of patent applications. The Patent Office has also run a pilot programme to train its examiners to work according to the international standards of the PCT.
These efforts have improved the examiners' work and enable the Israeli Patent Office to start its services as an international search authority and international preliminary examining authority from June 2012. The improvements are also notable in the examination of Israeli applications by the Patent Office, which have much improved in recent years.
Domestic applicants are leading in the number of Israeli applications filed under the PCT. Domestic PCT applicants consistently rank within the 15 most prolific users of the PCT system worldwide, and Israel is one of the leaders in PCT filings per person. The appointment of Israel as an international search authority and an international preliminary examining authority addresses the international requirements of Israeli applicants.
At first, the service will be available to Israeli applicants only. Currently, Israeli applicants can choose between the United States and the European Patent Office as their international search authority or international preliminary examining authority. The Israeli Patent Office will now be added as an international search authority or international preliminary examining authority option. Selecting the Israeli Patent Office as the international search authority or international preliminary examining authority is expected to be more convenient and more cost and time effective compared to the US and European offices.
It is expected that at a later stage, the service will also be available to foreign applicants.
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