You work with a broad range of clients, in Israel and abroad, in a wide range of industries. What are the biggest challenges facing international clients looking to enforce their patents in Israel?
Israel’s IP arena has matured into a stable, clear and more applicant-friendly environment which now, more than ever, attempts to understand applicants’ business and commercial needs. That is not to say that all is perfect; some changes are still required. I believe that the biggest challenge that international clients face when enforcing their rights in any foreign jurisdiction is their ability to fully understand the respective customs of said jurisdiction and how the changing IP landscape can work in their favour. Given that it is a small market, foreign clients often decide not to enforce their rights in Israel by way of infringement suits, but instead concentrate their efforts on larger markets. While this may be an appropriate decision for any-sized international company, daily practice teaches that there are other ways to maintain enforceability.
Previously, you served as a senior partner at Reinhold Cohn, co-leading the life sciences and chemistry group’s endeavours. What does effective leadership look like to you?
To me, effective leadership means leading by example, both in professionalism and diligence of work, but also with regard to personal character. For a leader to be effective, one should not only lead by title or recognition, but also by actions. This applies from daily routines to any professional aspect of leadership. A good leader must be able to listen. Every employee, be they an administrator or professional attorney, must be allowed to develop their own personal capabilities and originality, and be empowered to unlock their full potential. They must be given the freedom to take ownership of their work and to mature into independent leaders and professionals.
You are a member of the Association of Israel Patent Attorneys, AIPPI, INTA and LES. How has your involvement with these organisations helped your professional development and why is such engagement important?
Membersip of these organisations is an awesome opportunity for interaction. Engaging with fellow patent attorneys and other practitioners from Israel and around the world contributes to the understanding of others and their experiences in other jurisdictions, opening the door for local and foreign collaborations that benefit our clients. As I represent clients both in Israel and abroad, the knowledge I have gained is invaluable, and collaborations that my colleagues and I have nurtured over the years have facilitated far-reaching business opportunities.
How do you expect the Israeli patent litigation landscape to develop in the next five years?
The Ministry of Justice has recently announced a legislative proposal to introduce a manufacturing waiver to the patent-term extension provisions of the Israel Patent Law. According to this, the changes would be intended to shift the balance significantly between rights benefitting innovators and those benefitting manufacturers of generics towards the latter. Such a shift would likely result in a surge of patent litigation between the two industries.
As the effects of the climate crisis intensify, what impact are you seeing this have on the development of green tech?
The recent pandemic has shown us the effects of a catastrophe on the IP world, with many companies redirecting all their efforts and funds to the development of covid-fighting or covid-diagnosing capabilities. The increasing rate of climate catastrophes around the world will inevitably cause a similar and perhaps equally urgent need for the expansion of green tech. I would have preferred for this expansion to have happened progressively and not under the duress of the climate crisis but, regardless, I believe that it will force many companies to enter the green tech field. Necessity is the mother of invention and we are now at a point where green tech is not a luxury but a real and dire requirement for the preservation of our planet. As the green tech field expands and will continue to, I foresee many new green technologies and solutions emerging.
Senior Partner [email protected]
Founder and senior partner at Seligsohn Gabrieli Benshafrut, Ronnie Benshafrut is a leader in his field, teaching courses in various fields of technology at colleges and forums. He holds a BSc in forensic science and a PhD in organic chemistry, and provides counselling on IP strategy and value creation, through cost-effective utilisation of IP assets in general and patents in particular. He advises on and manages IP matters for clients in a range of industries.