In June 2012 the Israeli Patent Office started functioning as an International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)., Israel joined the fourteen International Search Authorities currently acting under the PCT (US, Russia, EPO, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Canada, Finland, Sweden, Brazil, Austria, the Nordic nations (Norway, Denmark and Iceland) and Spain.
In September 2009, during the annual meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Israel was appointed as an ISA/IPEA under the PCT. At the same meeting, Egypt was also appointed as an ISA and IPEA, however, it is as yet unknown when Egypt will start its services.
Since WIPO’s decision, the Israel Patent Office has made substantial efforts to meet the PCT requirements of an ISA/IPEA. New Examiners have been recruited and the Examiners have been trained in courses and at seminars in Israel and worldwide. The Israeli Patent Law was amended to enable the Israel Patent Office to function as an International Authority and modern and an efficient automated patent processing system were acquired, enabling electronic filing and handling of patent applications. The Israeli Patent Office has also run a pilot program to train the Israeli Examiners to work according to the International standards of the PCT.
These efforts have upgraded the work of the Israeli Examiners and enable the Israeli Patent Office to start its services as an ISA and IPEA. The upgrade is also notable on the examination of Israeli applications by the Israeli Patent Office which have much improved during the last several years.
Israeli is one of the most prolific nations in filing applications in the PCT. Israeli entities are consistently placed among the top 15 PCT filers in the world. Israel is one of the leading PCT filers per capita. The appointment of Israel as an ISA/IPEA helps to better address the international requirements of Israeli applicants.
At first, the service is available to Israeli applicants only. In the past, Israeli applicants could choose between the US and European Patent Office as ISA/IPEA. The Israeli Patent Office is now be added as an option for ISA/IPEA. Selecting the Israel Patent Office as ISA/IPEA is expected to be more convenient, cost and time effective when compared to the US and European offices.
It is expected that at a later stage the service will be available to foreign applicants as well.