July 26, 2018

A new design law to come into force in Israel in August 2018

On August 7, 2018, an updated Design Law (hereinafter referred to as “the Law”) will become effective in Israel. The amendments, approved by the Israeli parliament last year, will replace the current Design Ordinance, which has been in effect since 1924. The most significant changes are highlighted below.

Under the new Law, design protection will be sought for products, which include, but are not limited to, packaging, screen displays, graphic symbols, excluding fonts.

Additionally, the designs will have a novelty grace period of 12 months before the application filing or priority date.

Any design application will have to meet the requirements of both novelty and individual character. The requirement of absolute novelty substitutes local novelty, whilst the individual character replaces the previous requirement of originality. This means that a design will meet the requirements of patentability, if there are no identical designs published anywhere in the world before its filing date, and if its general impression, made upon a skilled person, is different from the general impression, produced by those designs which are already known.

Furthermore, current procedures stipulate the publication of a registered design upon two years from its filing. In contrast, as soon as the new Law enters into force, all design applications will be published by the Israeli Patent Office (IPO) shortly upon filing. Besides this, all previously registered designs will be made public within a month after the new Law enters into force, whilst the design applications filed under the old Law will be published upon their registration.

Considering an early publication, a concept of an unregistered design is introduced under the new Law providing an applicant with a protection period of three years from the earliest publication date. In case an unregistered design is novel and has individual character, it will give the owner the right to prevent third parties from production and commercialisation of any product, copying said unregistered design or creating the same general impression. 

What is more, the designs filed on or after August 7, 2018, will be valid for 25 years from the filing date, instead of the previously stipulated 15 years. However, it will be possible to renew designs filed before the Law becomes effective, for an additional three-year-term, consequently enlarging the total term of protection to 18 years.

The new Law also includes provisions for prosecution of the international applications, allowing Israel to join the Hague Agreement in the future.

Additionally, there are provisions stipulating statutory damages for infringements and criminal offence for the intentional copying of registered designs.

With the new Design Law, Israel strives to streamline its legislation, making it more up-to-date, applicant-friendly and encouraging design protection in the country.

Author: Jessica Chester