The State of Israel joined the Treaty in June 1996. The decision to join the treaty was made out of a desire to help Israeli applicants / inventors and to promote local industry.
In that same year a special unit was established inside the patent Office for receiving and handling patent applications submitted under the treaty.
From that time, an Israeli citizen / resident can file an international patent application, which is treated as if submitting a local patent application in each country that is a member of the treaty.
A foreign resident, upon filing an international patent application, designates all of the countries that belong to the treaty, meaning that his international patent application is seen as filed by him in Israel.
Joining the Treaty had a huge impact on the amount of patent applications filed in Israel that stood at around 2000 applications a year (regular national applications or through the Paris Convention route) before joining the Treaty, and after joining, about 6000 a year.
The impact of the PCT on the industry in Israel was also significant. The PCT system gave the opportunity of more time for assessing the value of the invention before making the important decision on a foreign filing to be made.
The PCT division initially numbered only four employees. Since 1999 Dr. Michael Bart serves as head of the division which now has eleven full time employees.
In the entire World and in Israel in particular, there has been a dramatic increase in PCT applications in recent years. Today the Israel Patent Office is a world leader in receiving and processing PCT applications.
The use of the PCT system by the Israeli public is one of the highest in the world per capita. Israel Receiving Office is among the top Offices in the world in terms of the number of international applications received as Receiving Office under the PCT.
Many Israelis choose to register a patent abroad by filing an international application for a patent in Israel.
Israel PCT Division functions:
Receiving Office Israel (RO/IL): An Israeli resident / citizen may file an international application with the Receiving Office of the Israel Patent Office in Jerusalem or to the International Bureau (IB) in Geneva.
This is the main activity of the PCT division which includes:
- Acts as Receiving Office of international applications in accordance with the provisions of the PCT Treaty.
- Performs a formality examination of the PCT applications filed in Israel and entering the national phase.
- Providing information, advice and assistance to PCT applicants and their agents in connection to PCT applications.
- Providing guidance to patent examiners in the Israeli Patent Office in matters relating to the PCT Treaty and Regulations.
- Resolving issues relating to PCT applications emerging in the international and national phase.
- Maintaining and updating PCT mailing list to inform users of updates and statistics.
- Providing information and assistance on a daily basis to the public regarding PCT procedures.
In 2017 the Israel Patent Office was one of the world leaders in timeliness of transferring the International Applications to the International Bureau and ranked 12th in total number of applications (data source from the 2018 PCT yearly review repory of WIPO - pages 22 & 75).
It is therefore highly recommended to file a PCT application at the national office due to easy accessibility and correspondence.
International Searching Authority Israel (ISA/IL) and International Preliminary Examining Authority - Israel (IPEA/IL)
Begining September 2009, The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) appointed Israel Patent Office as an International Searching and Examining Authority. This is a major achievement for the State of Israel and testifies on Israel's international status as a source of inventions and patents and the excellent professional level of the Patent Office in Jerusalem. Thus, Israel joined the prestigious and limited club of international searching and examination authorities and offers high quality service at a low rate.
Israeli citizens / residents, in order to perform the International Search and the International Preliminary Examination, can choose between the Israel Patent Office (ILPO), European Patent Office (EPO) or the United States Patent Office (USPTO), which are all recognized as International Searching and Examination Authorities.
Thanks to the high level and professionalism of the Israeli patent office examiners, the US Patent Office and the Georgian Patent Office have authorized the Israel Patent Office as an International searching and examination authority for applications submitted to them (i.e. a citizen / resident of the US / Georgian can request the search and examination of an international application to be done by the Israeli Patent Office (ISA/IL and IPEA/IL).
The PCT division conducts a formal examination of the PCT applications entering the national phase in Israel (Israel was chosen as a Designated Office (DO) / Elected Office (EO)).
At the National Phase the request undergoes formal procedures in order to receive an Israeli number in accordance with the Israeli Patent Law.
In addition the division authorizes:
- Addition of priority claims
- Restoration of right of priority
- Time limit extensions of priority claims
- Time limit extension of entering the national phase
Professional examiners holding advanced scientific degrees from prestigious institutions of higher education (such as the Weizmann Institute, Technion and leading universities in Israel and abroad). Many examiners hold a PhD and most have a master's degree or higher.
Israeli examiners are fluent in a wide range of languages, including Hebrew, English, Arabic, Russian and the main European languages. Therefore, the International Search Reports (ISRs) and International Prelimanry Examination Report (IPERs) produced are of high standard.
High quality search and examinatioan at a relatively low price.
Short delivery times. In 2017 the Israeli Search Authority was ranked 10th in the world in timeliness for production of International Search reports and the Written Opinion and 9th in the total amount of reports produced (data source from the 2018 PCT yearly review repory of WIPO - pages 76-77).
Convenient access and communication with the PCT division responsible for the PCT operations.
Upon entering the National phase in Israel the PCT applications are generally assigned to the same examiner who established the International Search Report (ISR) and Written Opinion (WOSA) for the corresponding PCT application in the international phase, thus saving time, re-search and re-examination.
Patriotism! Selecting the Israel Search Authority strengthens Israel's economy, creates jobs for scientists (preventing brain drain) and promotes the scholarly reputation of Israel as a leader in the world of patents.
Existence of PCT - PPH agreements with certain countries including the United States providing advantages in terms of the examination in those countries upon entering the national phase.
Filing patent applications by the way of filing an international application has become very popular in recent years in Israel and abroad, due to the many benefits listed above. Although an "international patent" does not exist, submitting an international application provides the applicant with an indication of the chances of receiving a patent, saves time and excessive correspondence and also saves financial expenses at the national phase, if the application passes the stages of international search and examination successfully.