(WIPO code: IL) (last revised July 2021)

by REINHOLD COHN & PARTNERS, Tel Aviv - Ronit Barzik-Soffer, Adv., Senior Partner

General Information

Area

21,946 sq. km.

Population

8,787,045 (estimated July 2021). (The indications of “Area” and “Population” do not cover the territories of the West Bank administered by Israel.)

Capital

Jerusalem with 944,000 inhabitants (2021).

Languages

Hebrew (official), Arabic, English.

Currency

New Israeli shekel (NIS = 100 agorot).

Major banking and commercial center

Tel Aviv-Yaffo with 4.264 million inhabitants (2021).

Principal port

Haifa with 1.155 million inhabitants (2021).

Imports

(2019) U.S.$ 116.2 billion.

Exports

(2019) U.S.$ 104.9 billion.

General Remarks

The State of Israel was established on May 15, 1948. While agrarian in its early years, Israel’s economy changed dramatically over the last several decades into one based on intellectual property.

Israel has reached a high standard of development and in all respects is a developed, first world country, and is an OECD member since 2010. The economy continued to enjoy a substantial growth phase, with an annual growth considerably above the western world norms. The growth of the Israeli economy is spurred by the hi-tech and other cutting edge industries which attracted massive foreign investment. The Israeli economy received a boost with huge offshore gas findings that promise to lead Israel into gas independence. With no net foreign debt, among the largest per capita foreign currency reserves and a spree of foreign investments, the Israeli economy is among the best performers in the western world and the currency, the NIS, which appreciated considerably over most other currencies, is now recognized as one of the strongest international currencies and one of the 17 international tenders. The unemployment rate in Israel is relatively low compared to other western economies, and was about 3.8% in January 2020, before the influence of COVID-19, which according to international standards is regarded as full employment. However, the Israeli economy is plagued by low participation of certain sectors in the labor market (including, in particular, ultra-orthodox men and Arab women) and a relatively low productivity, as compared to OECD standards. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of unemployed citizens during the year of 2020 has increased.

Israel is widely recognized as a powerhouse for new, cutting edge, technologies in the fields of medical devices, telecommunication, computer sciences, electro-optics, biotechnology, and others. The development of new technologies is aided by a very significant Israeli and foreign venture investment activity.

Industry is Israel's chief economic driver, followed by the building industry and agriculture. The agricultural products of Israel include a large variety of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Quite generally agriculture has reached a high degree of sophistication, in particular in such areas as methods of cultivation and raising of crops, development of new plant varieties and irrigation. The most important industrial activities include chemistry, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, electronics, computer hardware and software, diamonds, textiles, fertilizers, irrigation equipment. With the huge offshore gas reserves and the consequent local use and export, the energy sector may play a dominant role as an economic driver in the foreseeable future.

Israeli exports include hi-tech products, military hardware, cut diamonds, premium agricultural products, pharmaceuticals and many others. However, undoubtedly Israel is first and foremost an intellectual property exporting country with a significant amount of foreign income coming from licensing and acquisition of Israeli IP powerhouses by foreign entities.

With the recognition of Israel as an IP powerhouse, in 2012 the Israeli Patent Office became a Search and Examining Authority for PCT applications. Israel is also a party to many bilateral PPH agreements and is one of the founding members of the GPPH.

Statistics (2019)
Filed Granted
Patents 7,738 4,213
Trademarks 11,410 10,971
Designs 1,483 1,021