Patent Filing Questions Answered
Some of the frequently asked questions about patent filing are briefly answered below.
If I want to do a patent filing for an invention in South Africa, what are the requirements for the invention to be considered eligible for patent rights?
For an invention to be eligible for patent rights it must be:
- Not obvious to someone skilled in the art
- Applicable in industry, commerce or agriculture
- Involve an inventive step.
There may not be an application or registered patent for similar, and it may not have been in use anywhere in the world prior to the provisional application date. It may not have been disclosed publicly before the initial patent filing date.
What is seen as public disclosure prior to a patent filing?
Any disclosure to the general public or a member of public not involved in the invention by means of broadcasting, advertising, articles, usage, demonstrations, bulletin boards, and news announcements is a public disclosure.
Even posters, abstracts, talks at meetings and unprotected emails can form part of public disclosures. For a public disclosure sufficient information must have been supplied to duplicate the invention.
Which inventions or items will not qualify for patentability when doing a patent filing?
Computer software, business methods, methods of performing mental acts, mathematical formulas, discoveries, methods of treating humans or animals through therapy or surgery, biological processes, organism metabolism, presentations of information, rules for playing a game, as well as animals and plants not genetically modified and scientific theories cannot be patented, but are protected under other intellectual property laws.
In terms of bio-engineering and technology, what can be patented when doing a patent filing?
It is a rather complex field and it is recommended that you get in legal expertise of intellectual property lawyers to help with the patent filing in terms of biotechnology related inventions.
Non-living entities such as antibodies in organisms, DNA, promoters and plasmids for instance, can be patented. In terms of living entities genetically modified plants, animals, and organisms can be patented subject to meeting specific requirements.
Contact us at Smit & Van Wyk to assist with the patent filing process.