A state office that would unify policy on intellectual property must be established, Uriel Lynn, president of the Israel Chambers of Commerce, told the Knesset Science and Technology Committee on Monday at a session to mark World International Property Day.

Lynn said that most countries in the Western world understand the great importance in the protection of rights to intellectual property for the development of their economies.

“The State of Israel too must recognize that protecting it is not [solely] the interest of the owner but of national interest,” he said.

The lawyer accused the Israel Police of not allocating enough resources to the enforcement of laws on intellectual property.

“One thing is clear – creativity will not be expressed in actions if there is not protection for intellectual property. No one will be motivated enough to develop new things if he knows that his rights will not be protected,” Lynn said.

Lynn, a former MK, said that a central body to manage policy on the subject must be established. “Today, there are different views, and there must be a supreme body in charge. If this is good for the US and Japan, it is also good for us.”

Many of those present at the meeting favored such a body, including Prof. Shanan Harpaz, the head of the Agriculture Ministry’s research administration, who said “the Health Ministry has one model for intellectual property, while we have another. Coordination and unification of definitions are needed.”

But Howard Poliner, a lawyer and Justice Ministry expert on intellectual property, said the idea of such powers being concentrated in one place “scares me. It may be that coordination is necessary, but I’m not sure that a single body is the solution. It may be that various bodies have to meet periodically to coordinate.”

Commercialization of know-how was also discussed by the committee.

Researchers must be able to market their know-how, said Ofir Alon of the Technion.

“Every Technion researcher could work at a high-paying job in industry, but they decide to remain in academia because they love research,” he said.

But Sharon Bar-Ziv, a researcher in justice and technology at the University of Haifa, said that extra payment to researchers could be problematic because scholars must be motivated by curiosity and not merchandizing.

“One must remember that intellectual property is a very expensive tool that can change the researcher’s incentives from research curiosity to commercialization. In addition, the public should not pay twice – once to research institutes and a second time in royalties to researchers.”

At the conclusion of the session, MK Daniel Ben-Simon (Labor), who filled in for chairman MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima), said that the Treasury “must quickly deal with arranging procedures for paying researchers who work for the national interest in fields in which the industry does not necessarily contribute.”

He also urged the Justice and Finance ministries to bring together all relevant factors to increase enforcement on these matters.

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