Patent applications in South Africa: While it is important to register your new inventions in order to protect your intellectual property, there are a few basic requirements that an invention need to adhere to according to South African law before you can initiate patent applications. A South African patent may be granted for an invention that is: New, Inventive and Useful. If your invention meets these three requirements, generally, subject to certain exclusions detailed below, a patent may be granted for the invention in terms of South African patent law. Obtaining a patent is essentially a two-step process, with the two steps being spaced 12 months apart. Complete patent applications are more expensive to file than provisional patent applications and it is not possible to add additional matter to a complete patent application once it has been filed.

Step 1 – Provisional Patent Application
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 – much like an option to protect your invention.

Step 2 – Complete Patent Application
The second step is to 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. The complete patent application or applications will claim a first (or “priority”) date from your provisional patent application. In other words, the rights you are protecting date back to the filing date of your South African provisional patent application. During the initial 12 month patent grace period, your rights are kept open.

Requirements for Patent Application

If you contact us, we can supply you with an outline which can be used to set out the information described below for patenting purposes.

Details of the invention
We need a full, detailed technical description of the invention in order to draft a patent specification. If you have a prototype or drawings of your invention, this would also suffice, together with a description of the functions it performs and the distinguishing features of your invention. It is of critical importance that we include as much detail in the patent specification as possible, to ensure that all embodiments and features of the invention are protected in the patent application. As you are the expert when it comes to your invention, we will draft the patent specification, forward it to you for approval and comment, and only file the patent application once we have received such approval.

Details of the inventors
In terms of the South African Patents Act, we need the full names and residential address of the inventor or inventors that contributed inventively to the invention.

Details of the Patent applicant / Patentee
Patents can be filed in the name of a person, such as the inventor, or a legal entity, such as a company. As such, we need the full names of the patent applicant, or patent applicants and their residential address(es), or if the patent applicant is a legal entity, we need the name of the entity and its registered address.

Details of our client
In terms of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, we need to identify who our client is. Therefore, you need to supply us with your full contact details. In this regard, the information needed should comply to the requirements of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act.