Patents protect inventions, how they work, what they do, what they are made of and how they are made. A Patent gives the owner the right to prevent others from exploiting their invention without permission. Your invention can be exploited by others who copy, make, use, import or sell your invention. A Patent is also your claim to ownership of the idea and without a Patent you do not have monopoly for your product unless your invention is a trade secret. Trade secrets are only protected as long as the information is kept secret.

Although novelty can never be determined conclusively, an indication of the novelty of your invention may be found by conducting searches. South Africa has a so-called “absolute” novelty requirement, which implies that any 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 rights. An inventor may sometimes unwittingly destroy the novelty of his / her own invention by disclosing it prior to filing an application.

Patents are time and date sensitive. You have 12 months in which to file a complete application based on your South African provisional 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.