How to Register a Patent in SA

Patents

Always keep your inventions a secret – Do not market or sell the inventions until the patent application has been filed. Obtaining a patent is a two-step process spaced 12 months apart.

Step 1
File a provisional patent application in South Africa (to obtain the earliest possible date from which to claim rights to your invention). Once the provisional patent has been submitted, additional steps has to be taken within 12 months to complete the application.

Step 2
File a complete patent application within 12 months of filing the provisional patent application in South Africa, and/or in each country where you wish to obtain patent protection. To register a patent for your invention there are a 3 basic requirements that an invention need to adhere to according to South African law:

All patent applications must be:

  1. New
    This “absolute” novelty requirement implies that any disclosure anywhere in the world before the filing date of a patent application in South Africa, will destroy the novelty of your invention, thereby forfeiting your patent rights.
  2. Inventive
    There may be similar inventions that have been disclosed to the public in patent specifications or other literature. It needs to be determined whether your invention is considered obvious or not.
  3. Useful
    Inventions with no application in trade, industry or agriculture cannot be the subject of a patent in terms of South African patent law.

A few examples of invention categories:

  1. Machines
    Machines can be mechanical devices or various devices together with a specific function that will lead to an outcome.
  2. Manufactured items
    This include any items not already included under machines, but which are tangible.
  3. Components
    The result of a mixture of compounds whether chemical or mechanical.
  4. Processes
    Specific steps or treatments which lead to an outcome that can be measured.
  5. Improvements
    Alterations to any of the above mentioned products.

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