As promised – here goes the first post about Israeli IP litigation
Well, you are considering beginning a trademark litigation in Israe, but who will hear your trademark case?
The first thing you need to know is that there is no IP court in Israel, and the regular court system hears IP matters.
Having said that, the commissioner of patents, trademarks and designs has jurisdiction to hear cases that have to do with the validity of trademark applications – competition procedures, oppositions, cancellations, etc.
So, basically, here are the relevant options:
- Opposition or request to cancel a registered mark – the commissioner of patents, trademarks and designs. At the moment, in addition to the commissioner himself, there are two more “judges” (they are in fact called adjadicators) at the trademark office (we are proud to say that one of them is a “veteran” of our firm), who take most of the trademark cases. The current commissioner seems to prefer patent cases.
- A suit that includes a motion to cease using a mark – since in most of the cases the plaintiff wishes the defendant to stop using his mark, he would have to address the district court. According to the Israeli law today, only the district court has an authority to grant such an order. Therefore, most of the intellectual property cases are filed in the district court, which is a relatively high court in Israel.
- A suit only for monetary compensation – if a plaintiff has no interest in stopping the use of his mark (e.g. because the use of his mark ceised, or he wants to save cost), he can choose to waive his right to file a suit to the district court and file his suit in the magistrates court, instead. Filing a suit in the mesigtrates court can have advantages in touch cases, since the plaintiff has much more influence on the choice of venue and hence – on the choice of judge.
Location – there are a number of alternatives to choosing a venue for filing a suit. The most important ones are the place where the plaintiff or the defendant live or work, or the place where the infringment took place. However, a suit can be filed in any court in the same county in the relevant venue. Since Israel is a small country, this allows a lot of flexibility, and provides plaintiffs advantage in choosing the venue of the fight.