Patent applications are submitted to the CIPC Offices in Pretoria, South Africa. Patent applications should include forms P1, P2 and P6 and if made by an attorney or agent, P3. It is important that the description of the specification that goes with form P6 is comprehensive and clear, and where applicable, detailed drawings must be attached, all on A4 pages. Provided that the provisional patent application has been accepted, the applicant will receive a reference number in case he or she needs to make reference to the proposed patent. Once approved the applicant then has 12 months in which to make a Complete Patent Application. This time limit is extendable for a small fee. It normally takes up to 6 months to have complete patent application processed.
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.