Amendments to the Design Regulations came into effect on July 1, 20141. These amendments include several noteworthy changes, which reflect the Israel Ministry of Justice and Patent Office initiatives to update the legal regime relating to designs.

The amended regulations that came into force on July 1, 2014, include a number of changes, among them the following:

Filing fee: The filing fee for a new design application for a single article in one class was significantly increased from NIS2 194 to NIS400 NIS (approx. US$ 120); and that for an application for a set of articles in one class was increased from NIS 410 to NIS 600 (approx. US$ 175). It is to be noted that this increase has partly been compensated through the abolishment of the publication fee (see below).

Introduction of a "Special Applicant" status: This is a new applicant status that has already been introduced for patent matters and is intended to assist designers, entrepreneurs and emerging companies. A "Special Applicant" is a kind of a small entity status that entitles to a 40% discount in filing fee of a design application that is first-filed in Israel. The following entities will be entitled to this status: it is not a company or partnership; it is a company or partnership whose annual turnover has not exceeded NIS 10 million; or is an institute of higher learning or an academic college.

Abolishment of publication fee: The publication fee of NIS 170 that existed hitherto has now been cancelled3. This cancellation compensates for the increase in filing fee.

3-months period for responding to an examination report: Hitherto, a response to an examination report had to be filed within 1 month from the date it was issued. However, this regulation was not enforced, and de facto, a response could have been filed at any time during the 12 month period of time set in the regulations for completing the examination procedure. The 3-month period of time, now newly introduced, is extendable, subject to payment of extension fee. In the absence of a timely response to an examination report, the application will deemed to be abandoned.

These changes are part of the Israel Ministry of Justice and Patent Office initiatives to update the legal regime relating to designs, and includes an updated classification list, a new Design Bill that is pending, the published intention to join the Hague System for the Registration of International Designs, and the Examination Guidelines of Design Applications.