Patent registrations may be granted to any invention that is new in all ways – this is known as absolute novelty, it must be useful on a practical level, and it must be inventive – that is to say that it must not be so similar to a previously available article that it required little ingenuity to make the invention. The first step in patent registrations is to make sure that the invention really is new and does not infringe on a similar invention.

This is called a novelty search, and may be carried out at CIPC Disclosure Centre by either the applicant himself or a patent attorney on his behalf. It is always advisable to carry out this search in other countries as well, to ensure that the invention really is new.

Time & Dates: Patents are time and date sensitive. 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. 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.