As reported in the previous post, the Knesset’s Constitution, Statute and Law Committee met on January 22 to discuss the bill to enable 18-month publication of Israel patent applications. Reports from someone in attendance (sadly, yours truly couldn’t be there, although that didn’t stop the official minutes from stating that I was in attendance) were that progress continued to be slow, with discussion focusing on what information and documents would become publicly available at 18 months and how that information would be accessible – would the entire file history become available online, as in the USA and Europe, or would only certain pieces of information be available online, with persons interested in the contents of the files needing to either come to the ILPTO to inspect the files or ordering copies of their contents?
However, the most entertaining (or, depending on your point of view, sad) part was apparently one trade group’s approach backfiring with respect to the question of third party submissions. In particular, while the wording of the draft legislation isn’t absolutely clear about what kinds of communications third parties would be allowed to have with examiners concerning pending applications, the Justice Ministry’s view is that the amendment would permit third parties to bring to the attention of examiners information that the applicant already had an obligation to disclose, without additional comments from the third party itself.
According to both the minutes and eyewitness account, the issue was brought up by one of the trade groups opposed to broad third-party involvement, despite the fact that the proceedings had not yet reached the point of discussing this issue. Not only did this this approach fail to convince the committee chairman of the correctness of the narrow-involvement position, but it actually piqued the chairman’s interest in allowing broader third-party submissions, while effectively precluding the Justice Ministry from arguing the case for narrow involvement. The issue has not yet been settled, but it seems that in this case, the group’s hired guns scored what the British would call an own goal (or, in Yankee-speak, shot themselves in the foot).
According to the committee’s web page, the committee is scheduled to resume its deliberations on this bill on February 13 and 26.