Software Patents

How to Patent an Idea

Patent an idea with the help of patent Attorneys who deal exclusively with patent applications, PCT filings, patent searches and patent renewals in South Africa. The first step is to file a South African provisional patent application for your invention. This is done to obtain the earliest possible date from which to claim rights to your invention.

You have 12 months in which to file a complete patent application based on your South African provisional patent application. However, should you wish to proceed with the filing of a complete patent application, it is important that you contact us within 10 months or so of filing your provisional patent application in order to give us sufficient time to draft and prepare a complete patent application for your invention – failure to do so will result in a surcharge being levied for urgency. In addition, failure to file a patent application or patent applications within the set deadlines may result in your patent rights being forfeited.

South Africa is a member of the Paris Convention and PCT:
The deadline for filing PCT national phase applications is 31 months from the earliest priority date. The Registrar of Patents has a discretion to extend the national phase entry deadline by 3 months, on formal request made to him by the applicant.

Patent Requirements

  1. Absolute novelty (new) – Disclosure anywhere in the world before the filing date of a South African patent application will destroy the novelty of your invention, thereby forfeiting your patent rights.
  2. Susceptible to industrial application.
  3. Must represent an inventive activity.

Patent Protection Duration

Non-PCT applications – 20 years from the South African filing date.
PCT national phase applications – 20 years from the filing date of the PCT International application.

Patent Renewals

Renewal fees become payable once the patent is granted. The first renewal fee falls due on the 1st anniversary of the filing date, and subsequent renewal fees are payable annually thereafter. Patents are time and date sensitive.

A 3 month extension period beyond the 12 month deadline is available in South Africa only for filing a South African complete patent application. This is not available in other countries. You may claim patent priority in a foreign patent application from a South African provisional patent application, but only within 12 months from the date of filing such South African provisional patent application.

Contact one of our patent attorneys for more information regarding services related to patent applications, renewals and litigation in South Africa. Call us: +27 (0) 12 349 7800 or

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