Israel Takes US Approach in Enabling Affordable Fast Track to Register Provisional Patents
A new, welcome initiative by the Israel Patent Office intends to allow entrepreneurs, through a preliminary and fast-tracked process, to submit an application for the provisional registration of a patent. This is a significant step, which could revolutionize entrepreneurial innovation in Israel and make it easier on many Israelis who wish to protect future patents. In the course of the fast-track process, the application is not considered for a year, and applicants are able to set an early submission date for the patent’s registration.
Currently, submitting an application to register a patent in Israel involves fees and many formal requirements, such as the requirement for a full description of the patent, and usually entails the hefty cost of a patent attorney or other attorney in the field. These requirements take time and a lot of money. They often result in delays in the submission of applications, which has critical implications for the approval of the patent, because the initial submission date determines the date for purposes of registering and protecting the patent. Because of the disadvantages in time and resources, many Israelis look to “foreign pastures” and submit their applications for the registration of a patent in the United States, where a more affordable fast-tracked process exists. The US process enables both provisional protection for an application for patent registration and preservation of the submission date in advance, until the provisional application is replaced by a complete and proper application.
In order to enable applicants of a provisional application to register a patent and “reserve” the date of submission of the registration application, so they can protect their idea, the Patent Office recently published a proposed amendment to the Israel Patent Regulations. In it, the Office invited comments and proposals from the public regarding the new legislative initiative, as required in such legislative processes. This amendment parallels the fast-track process in the United States. The Patent Office is interested in providing applicants of a provisional application an optional track that allows initial and temporary protection of the patent for a year. During this year, the application is kept by the Ministry of Justice, but is not reviewed until the submission of a complete application in accordance with the requirements of the law. Thus, the applicant enjoys a more affordable process, which protects him from the possibility of an earlier registration application by another entity, and entitles him to register the patent under the original submission date. The requirement for a full and comprehensive description of the patent still stands, according to the description in a regular registration application, but the remaining requirements are mitigated and make the provisional application process easier.
Under the proposed language, an applicant for registration has a year from the date of submitting the provisional application to supplement this submission with a complete and detailed application. Should such application not be submitted within a year, the provisional application will automatically be revoked.