A Short Overview of the New Israeli Design Law
Israeli new Design Law, which will come into force on August 7, 2018, replaces the Patents and Designs Ordinance of 1924, and is intended to create a comprehensive, balanced and up-to-date body of rules and doctrines.
The general purpose of the new Design Law is to encourage the development of new designs for the good of the public interest. Other purposes that guided the arrangements in the new Law are: (1) encouraging small business owners, particularly designers working alone or holding a small business; (2) promoting certainty in the field of designs In Israel; and (3) adapting the law to new developments in this field, both legal and technological.
For the local right’s owner, the most noteworthy development is the implementation of a non-registered design right, which will be granted to non-registered designs for a period of three years commencing from the earliest publication date of the design. The new law also allows a one-year grace period from the earliest publication date, during which the design owner will be able to file for a design registration.
The introduction of a non-registered design right is expected to change the landscape of industrial design litigation in Israel. In many design infringement cases, Israeli courts have had to struggle with the de-facto absence of registered rights, particularly in fields of industry where design registration is neither customary nor economically worthwhile. In order to avoid having to deny infringement claims in the absence of a registered design right, courts based their decisions in these cases on the unjust enrichment cause of action. This resulted in growing uncertainty as to the scope and extent to which the unjust enrichment cause of action should be applied in design infringement cases. The introduction of a non-registered design right is no doubt intended to diminish this uncertainty, and to bring back design infringement cases back to the solid lines of the written (design) law.
Other major changes in Israeli design law include increased protection period for registered designs - 25 years as opposed to 15 years under the old Ordinance; the introduction of a requirement for global novelty, as opposed to local novelty required so far; and the application of design law to graphic symbols and screen displays.
Finally, the new Law paves the way for Israel to join the ‘Hague Agreement Concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs’. When Israel joins the Hague Agreement, foreign applicants we be able to apply for design protection in Israel through an international design application.