Today, September 1, 2010, will long be remembered as one of the most momentous days in Israel’s Intellectual Property history.
After depositing its instrument of accession to the Madrid Protocol for the International Registration of Marks at WIPO on June 1, 2010, Israel today commenced operation of the Protocol, making it the 85th member of the WIPO-administered International Trademark system, and the 82nd Member of the Protocol.
In addition to facilitating International protection of Trade and Service marks under the Madrid Protocol, the Israel Trademarks Office (ITO) also today moved from a single-class to a multi-class filing and registration system, enabling new applications to be filed in multiple classes, with a reduced official filing fee being applied to each class after the first.
As part of a number of related changes accompanying implementation of the new multi-class Trademark system on a national level:
(a) the ITO will allow for unification of several single-class applications, or several single-class registrations, provided that the marks therein are identical and carry the same filing date;
(b) the renewal period in Israel will be reduced from 14 years to 10 years bringing it in line with the first term of registration of a mark which was changed from 7 years to 10 years in August 2003;
(c) a reduced official renewal fee will be applied to each class after the first when renewing a multi-class registration in Israel;
(d) the examination period of an Israeli application will be limited to a maximum of 2 years, after which time the application will be deemed to be cancelled unless the Applicant requests to present arguments against cancellation before the Registrar;
(e) the ITO will no longer allow changes to be made to registered national marks, and a similar approach will be applied to marks under application albeit that changes to pending marks may be allowed by the Registrar in very exceptional circumstances.
With the recent upgrade of its computer databases and online filing facilities, the Israel Trademarks Office has been promising a more efficient, effective and cheaper filing system – both on a national level, and now also on an international level. The extent, however, to which Israeli individuals and businesses will avail themselves of the opportunity to expand geographical coverage of their Trademarks under the Madrid Protocol remains to be seen, and it will likely take some time until the new international system becomes common play for Israeli Trademark owners.