In April 2021 I wrote an article about Tesla, Facebook and Apple, entitled "Putting the Driver back into Driver Assisted Systems". The article started out with discussing the Tesla Autopilot and ended up with discussing choice. We should be free to choose all manner of freedoms, including whether or not to provide advertisers with the ability to track us via hard-wired software systems in our smartphones; as long as such choices do not wantonly endanger us (such as was the question with the Tesla Autopilot and its ultimately fatal results.
You're probably wondering where I'm going with this. Well, late in 2021, the Israel Patent Office (ILPO) announced a Pilot Program which was to allow patent applicants to choose to receive office actions in the English language, rather than in Hebrew, the country's official language, as has been the current practice. A short notice to that effect appears on our website at Israel: Pilot for Office Actions in English – JMB Davis Ben-David.
The clear intent of the program is to obviate the need for non-Hebrew speaking applicants to have office actions translated from Hebrew into English. According to an announcement released by the ILPO yesterday, the first English language Office Actions were issued on February 1. They don't say how many have been issued, but from the reaction of our own overseas clients, the idea of being able to read an Office Action in its original text, as well as the accompanying cost savings – has been well-received.
The only problem is that the representative Committee of Patent Office employees feels that a suitable infrastructure was not put in place for the pilot scheme to work without undue burden being placed on them, particularly on the Examiners. As Patent Attorneys, we work with both the Israel Patent Office, as the official body authorized to examine and grant patents; and with the Examiners directly. This is an internal dispute, and we neither desire nor intention to take sides. We do, of course, hope that the dispute comes to a conclusion which is both rapid and is to the satisfaction of all concerned.
Of course, should any English Office Actions be issued in Hebrew despite acceptance into the English Language Pilot Program, you'll now know why; and the same goes for any slowdown in examination that you may notice. In the meantime, we have not heard anything from the ILPO to the effect that either of the above should be expected.
Finally, after having read about the freedom to choose to participate in the pilot program, and selection which may or may not impinge on the rights of those expected to provide the service, and which may or may not be realized... you may understand why my mind went back to the above musings about the Tesla Autopilot and related matters.
Is there really any substantive connection? No.
Actually, maybe there is a connection, even if it seems somewhat tenuous. If we are given the right to participate in a Pilot Program, especially one which seems to be quite popular, it's nice if the program's Pilot can steer it away from the rocks...
In the meantime, watch this space. We'll let you know of any developments. And if you do have specific questions, or you want further details about the Program, please contact me at JMBmail@jmbdavis.com.
Originally published February 2022
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