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Patent Attorney or Patent Lawyer?

Yael Saidian

Yael Saidian

Registered Israeli patent attorney

Patent Attorney/Patent Agent/IP Attorney/Patent Lawyer

The differences between titles people use in Israel to describe their skills

The term “Patent Attorney” is used differently in different countries.

What is the meaning of this title in Israel ?

Which qualifications are required from an Israeli practitioner in order to represent clients before the Israeli Patent Office?

Israeli Patent Attorney - Definition

A person is entitled to be registered in the Israeli Register of Patent Attorneys and receive a patent attorney’s license, if she or he satisfies several conditions. The following minimal conditions should be met: 

  • appropriate technical education;
  • at least 2 years of internship; and
  • successfully passing oral and written exams.

A registered patent attorney in Israel is licensed to practice and represent clients before the Israeli Patent Office in connection with registration of patents, designs and trademarks and in proceedings before the Israeli Patent Office (ILPO) such as opposition or cancellation of registration. Patent attorneys may also provide opinions regarding patentability, infringement, validity.

In Israel, a registered patent attorney is not required to be a lawyerMoreover, most of the patent attorneys in Israel are not lawyers. Thus, the definition of a licensed patent attorney in Israel differs from “Patent Attorney” or “Patent Agent” titles used in the USA. 

Israeli Patent Agent - Definition

A Patent Agent is a terminology no longer applicable in Israel in 2020 since almost all practitioners with such a title are no longer alive. This title has been created in 1967 by the legislator to allow practitioners already acting as representatives of patentees to continue working. The new Patent Law entered into effect in 1968 and allowed these practitioners to practically work as patent attorneys although they were not required to fulfill the mandatory requirements for license.

Israeli Attorney at Law - Definition

An Attorney at Law is a member of the Israeli Bar Association who is licensed to practice law in Israel.

IP Attorney or Intellectual property attorney or Patent Lawyer are several titles used for describing a solicitor having experience in intellectual property.

However, these titles are somewhat confusing since many foreign attorneys are not familiar with the differences between the US and Israeli terms.

An attorney at law who is not also registered as a patent attorney did not pass the patent bar exam and thus lacks practical experience & knowledge of the Israeli Patent Office policies and procedures.  Representation before the Commissioner of Patents solely by a lawyer can cause irreparable damage to patent applications due to inadequate understanding of technology and lack of experience. 

It is a pity that there is no clear limitation in the Patent Law that prevents representatives which are not qualified from practicing before the Israel Patent Office. Nevertheless, this aspect is covered by the lawyers’ Ethical Code that states lawyers can’t handle a case for which they are not qualified.  Sadly, not everyone follows the ethical code. 

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