As soon as your patent is registered, you can begin to enforce it.
Once the patent has been registered, you can sue anyone that has infringed the patent at any time since it was filed. In other words, the registration has retroactive effect. For example, if we file an application on 1st January 2010, and a third party starts to infringe the patent on 1st March 2011, and the patent is registered on 1st February 2015, then, as of 1st February 2015, we can sue that third party, in respect of the infringement during the period commencing as of 1st March 2011.
In general terms, Israel patent law is very much in line with patent law in England, the US and Europe. A patent is infringed either by means of "literal infringement" or by infringement of the "essence of the invention". The "essence of the invention" is very loosely equivalent to the "pith and marrow" doctrine of the UK, or the doctrine of equivalents employed in the US.
Having said that, patent infringement jurisprudence is relatively sparse in Israel, simply because the country is still quite young and the market is relatively small, so the "essence of the invention" doctrine is not as clearly defined or as well developed as perhaps in the US or its equivalent in the UK.
On matters of law which have already been decided by Israel's Supreme Court, that court's rulings constitute binding precedent for all lower courts. However, on matters of law which have not yet been decided in Israel, and likewise in rulings of the Supreme Court itself (which must only be guided by, but is not bound by earlier rulings), it is customary to present a comparative analysis of patent law in other jurisdictions, chiefly the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and Europe.
Procedurally, court action in Israel follows a similar pattern to proceedings in England. The proceedings are adversarial, with witnesses and experts being subject to cross-examination. There is no equivalent in Israel to the US "Markman" hearing - the court will hear matters of infringement and validity at the same time, and rule on both issues at the end of the proceedings.
"Discovery" is nothing like in the US, and is often very limited in infringement actions.
It is possible to obtain preliminary injunctions, including ex parte injunctions, although this has certainly become more difficult in recent years. In preliminary injunction proceedings, the registered patent will enjoy a presumption of validity, so claims of invalidity will not generally be heard at this stage. On the other hand, the plaintiff will be required to post security of damages and costs, to cover costs and losses of the defendants, in case the claim is ultimately rejected.
Costs of court action in Israel are very much lower than in the US or the UK. An uncomplicated action for infringement of a mechanical patent in Israel might cost somewhere in the region of $125k to $200k, if contested all the way. However, as in most other countries, only a very small percentage of patent infringement cases are litigated through to the end - the vast majority are settled along the way.
Reif & Reif has specialised in patent litigation for some 20 years. We also handle a large number of patent oppositions, before the Israel Patent Office.
Please contact us and let us know how we may be of assistance to you.
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Law Offices & Notary
Enforcing your Patent in Israel