Israel began a pilot PPH program on August 1, 2012. This is great news for biotech and pharmaceutical patentees, since there is significant pharmaceutical manufacturing in Israel.
WIPO actually agreed in 2009 to allow the Israeli Patent Office (IPO) to acts as an International Search Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examination Authority (IPEA) under the Paris Convention Treaty (PCT). IPO had to undergo preparatory efforts in order to make this decision a reality, including recruiting new examiners, training all examiners, implementing an internal pilot program, creating a new computerizes system to allow online filing, completing legislative changes, and establishing new regulations. These were all completed by June 1, 2012.
The IPO is only available to Israeli applications at this time. It is hoped that in future years, the relatively low filing costs for their PCT search and examination services with be available to non-Israeli application as well.