Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, passed on July 26, 2017 a new Designs Law, which will come into force in a year’s time from its publication, namely, on August 7, 2018.
The new Designs Law will replace the Patents and Designs Ordinance of 1924 (hereinafter: “The Designs Ordinance”), which constitutes the legal basis for design registration and protection in Israel. Designs registered, filed, and published before August 7, 2018 will continue to be subject to The Designs Ordinance.
Some of the major provisions of the new Law are:
- The protection period for designs is increased from 15 years to 25 years, as counted from the filing date with the Israel Patent Office (subject to periodical renewals).
- The new Design Law amends the Designs Ordinance to render designs, governed thereby, eligible for an extended protection period of 18 years (instead of 15 years; subject to payment of an applicable fee).
- The new Law replaces the requirement for novelty or originality in the Designs Ordinance, with cumulative requirements for both novelty and individual character.
- The requirement for novelty is now global (in place of a local novelty requirement under the Designs Ordinance).
- A one-year grace period from the publication date of an unregistered design, during which design protection can still be pursued.
- The new Law includes provisions which will allow Israel to join the ‘Hague Agreement Concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs’, paving the way for Israeli applicants to file international design applications with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and for foreign applicants to apply for design protection in Israel through an international design application.
- Under the new Law graphic symbols (excluding fonts) and screen displays are also eligible for protection as a design.
- A design application will be published shortly after its filing (at present, registered designs are published two years after the filing date). However, a six-month delay may be requested.
- Variant designs of a registered design/pending design application (main design) may be filed by the same applicant. The variant designs are not required to be novel or to have individual character relative to the main design.
- A non–registered design will be afforded a three-year protection period commencing from the (earliest) publication date of the design.
- Statutory damages of up to 100,000 NIS for each act of infringement;
- The new Law establishes as a criminal offense the intentional copying of a registered design. Corporate officers are required to supervise and implement measures to avoid the offense and are therefore also liable under the new Law.