Israel has ratified the Marrakesh Treaty for the cross-border exchange of accessible format books for the blind, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked announced Monday at the Tel Aviv conference of the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (known by its French acronym, AIPPI).The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled provides for copyright exceptions in national laws to allow print-disabled persons to get accessible format publications, including across borders. Drafted in 2013, the accord must be ratified by 20 countries to go into effect.Israel is the 16th country to ratify the accord, noted World Intellectual Property Organization head Francis Gurry, who also attended the confab.The conference was opened by Tal Band, the president of AIPPI-Israel and a lawyer with S. Horowitz & Co., who discussed both the “good ecosystem” which Israel offers for intellectual property and areas “where we can improve.”Band noted that notwithstanding Israel’s progress in protecting intellectual property from infringement, the World Intellectual Property Organization recently dropped the county’s rating from 15th to 22nd place.Band added that in higher education, Israel had dropped in certain rankings from 7th to 29th place.Israel must “invest more in science and technology [and] in education, from elementary schools up to university. The future of inventions will not be the result of legal protections, but investment in education and encouraging scientific research with a global impact,” he added. Justice Minister Shaked struck a more optimistic outlook, discussing Israel’s “knowledge based economy,” and noting “innovation is the bread and butter” of what “makes us the leader in a world” of start-up ventures.She said, “modern intellectual property legislation plays a key role in handling rapidly changing technology, creativity and technological advancement.”The justice minister noted that in the past year Israel advanced a bill to “create a new and modern industrial designs law to replace 1924 British legislation” which will improve “certainty for product designers.”Addressing related issues, WIPO head Gurry noted, “innovation is the basis of competition. Intellectual property’s role is to secure the comparative advantage of innovation to encourage innovating.”He added that there is a huge surge in demand for intellectual property rights with “200 million patent applications” being filed recently.