Broader, Longer, More Generous, Narrower: The New Israel Design Law

Click for a downloadable summary of The New Israel Design Law

Let’s admit it. The new Designs Law in Israel has been cooking for a long time. 50 years after the new Patent Law and 46 years after the new Trademark Law, we finally celebrated the passage of a new Design Law in Israel in 2017, and on August 7, 2018, it will take the place of the 1924 Patents and Designs Ordinance.

Broader: It’s definitely more up-to-date, relating to such modern things as screen displays (registerable) and fonts (not registrable).

Longer: It grants a 25 year period of registration – this is good news for today’s and tomorrow’s designers (for designs registered from August 7, 2018), but it will leave yesterday’s designer (for designs registered prior to August 7, 2018) green with envy – this, despite their being given a 3 year extension of the original 15 year term. I suppose that as they had no expectation of receiving more than a 15 year term, they should be grateful. I can see both sides…

More Generous: It certainly has a generous side to it. The new law provides up to 3 years of protection for unregistered designs. Also, the designer can also apply for registration within the first year after initial publication. So, in total, a design can be protected for 26 years (1 year unregistered plus 25 years registered). Not bad.

Narrower: Of course, there is a downside to the new law. Under the old Ordinance, the only novelty requirement was local, i.e. inside Israel, although a number of years ago local novelty was expanded – not unreasonable – to include publication on the internet. The new Law does away with the local novelty provision and clearly requires global novelty. Period. (and about time too!)

So there you have it. On the whole, the new Law seems to be a vast improvement over its ancient ancestor. Will it entice more people to run to register their new designs? Will we see savvy fashion designers, or short-term kids’ fads innovators, such as “Pogs” or “Milk Caps” suing for unprotected design infringement? How will case law fashion the field of designs generally?

Will designs finally be appreciated as being A High Value Business Tool (as they can be) or the Illegitimate Child of IP as they have been for a long time?

Only time will tell…..

In the meantime, do you have any questions about the new Designs Law? Ask us.

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