Ephraim Zachary Heiliczer August 22 2022 Israel Patent Office 2021 year in review: strong innovation continues Pearl Cohen Zedek Latzer Baratz | Intellectual Property - Israel Ephraim Zachary Heiliczer Intellectual Property Key findingsFuture developmentsCommentThe Israeli Patent Office recently issued its 2021 year in review report. The report reflects the further emergence of Israel as a start-up nation for patents.Key findingsIn 2021, patent applications and granted patents rose by almost 20%, totalling 9,616 and 5,488, respectively. The predominant foreign applicants in Israel were from the United States (43%) and Europe (27%). Israeli applicants comprised 17% of applications. Israel also is becoming more attractive to Asian applicants (Japan, China, Korea) with a rise of over 20% in applications. However, the total number of Asian applications is still relatively low (6%). The most prevalent fields of innovation were:pharmaceuticals;medical devices;science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM);defence; andagricultural technology.Comparative data indicates the continued strength of outbound Israeli innovation. Israel is the 10th largest country in terms of applications filed at the US Patent and Trademark Office, 13th in terms of Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications and 18th for European Patent Office applications. There was also significant use of the Israel Patent Office as the PCT searching authority for Israeli applicants, and a number of US applicants (327) also selected the Israel Patent Office as their PCT searching authority. The most prevalent fields for Israeli PCT searches were STEM and medical devices.National examination data indicates that only about 20% of applicants are utilising the option to petition for immediate allowance based on a foreign patent under section 17c of the Patents Law. Similarly, in 2021, applicants did not make much use of other forms of accelerated examination (eg, the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) and schemes for patents relating to green technology). Applicants could make greater use of these options if examination was appropriately timed with the prosecution of corresponding foreign applications. However, currently, only 4% of applicants utilise the option to defer examination.The immediate entrance of 75% of applications into regular examination has led to a large amount of examinations with multiple office actions (46% of office actions). This was a particular problem for applications relating to the pharmaceutical, medical device and chemical industries. In fact, in these fields, repeat examinations exceeded initial examinations.In addition, the percentage of divisional applications has only risen slightly since a recent Israeli patent practice change allowing serial divisional applications and liberalising rules against double patenting. Divisional applications are particularly advantageous for applications threatened with potential opposition at the Israeli Patent office (0.6% of allowed applications were opposed in 2021).Future developmentsThere are several proposed changes to patent practice on the horizon in Israel. These include:provisional Israeli applications;shortening opposition timelines; andpossibly, reduced information disclosure obligations.However, due to the forthcoming Israeli elections, it is difficult to envision any significant changes before 2023.CommentThe Israeli Patent Office expanded its activity in 2021 to cater to incoming and outgoing innovation. Applicants should consider making additional use of the Israeli Patent Office for PCT searches and utilising the various options available (eg, section 17c, PPH and deferral) to time their national examination effectively and secure their patent rights.For further information on this topic please contact Ephraim Heiliczer at Pearl Cohen by telephone 972 3 303 9000 or email ([email protected]). The Pearl Cohen website can be accessed at www.pearlcohen.com.