Patents, Trade Marks & Copyright Banner

Complete Patent Application

Patent Application Process

Obtaining a patent in South Africa is essentially a two-step process, with the two steps being spaced 12 months apart. Once a complete patent application has been filed, it is impossible to add additional matter. The reason for this two-step approach to patents is therefore to give you time to improve your invention. Furthermore, any modifications that you make to the invention as contained in the provisional patent specification must be kept secret until such modifications have been captured in a second provisional patent application or are included in the eventual complete application.

A patent is an exclusive right granted by a sovereign state to an inventor for a limited period of time in exchange for the details of that invention. The procedure for granting a patent vary widely between countries according to national laws and international agreements, but a patent application must include claims that define the invention. These claims must meet relevant patentability requirements, such as novelty, usefulness, and non-obviousness. It is highly recommended that your claims be written by a qualified patent attorney or patent agent.  Smit & Van Wyk Intellectual Property law firm specialises in Patent PCT National Phase applications in most African countries including South Africa, Angola, Algeria, Botswana, Egypt, Nigeria, OAPI and ARIPO Contracting states. The patent attorneys at Smit & Van Wyk provide a wide range of patent-related services across multiple industries and fields of technologies, including patent drafting, filing, prosecution:

(1) We prepare and prosecute patent and PCT applications;
(2) Advise on the patentability of inventions;
(3) Help clients license, franchise or assign their rights;
(4) Conduct patent searches;
(5) Handle the payment of maintenance fees;
(6) Record amendments to a patent and translate patent specifications into local Languages.
(7) How to patent an idea

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. This 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.

Patent Duration

The patent has a duration of 20 years from the date of filing or the PCT International filing date, with no possible extensions.

Maintenance fees / Renewal fees

Annual maintenance fees are payable from the third anniversary of the filing date or from the PCT International filing date. There is a 6-month grace period to pay the maintenance fees.


Inventions, Ideas, New, Inventive and Useful, Gadgets, Biotech


Appearance, Aesthetic, Functional, Industrial Design, Design Patents

Tarde Marks

Name, Slogan, Logo, Shapes, 3D Marks, Holograms, Motions


Literary, Musical, Artistic, Sound Recordings, Broadcasts, Photography


Buying or Starting a Franchise, Franchise Agreements

Intellectual Property in Africa

Smit & Van Wyk Intellectual Property services spans across the entire African continent. Patent, PCT National Phase applications and Trade Mark filings in most African countries, OAPI and ARIPO.

Many African countries form part of ARIPO or OAPI allowing for the filing of only one application to obtain protection in multiple territories. These regional systems reduce the administrative burden of those countries and support a better output of the relevant laws.

Popular countries to file in Africa
South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Kenya, Angola, Tanzania, Mauritius, Tunisia, Zambia, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Seychelles.

Recent Articles

Lockdown Notification: Plant Breeders’ Rights

Delivery of application forms and seed This serves to notify all clients that during Level 4 of the Lockdown, Applications in terms of the Genetically Modified ActApplications in terms of the Plant Breeders’ Rights ActSeed submitted for Evaluations in terms of the Plant...

COVID-19 Lockdown

Intellectual Property in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic It is evident that the world is facing uncharted territory as a result of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. There is a great deal of uncertainty and many people are, for the first time, grappling with concepts such as social distancing,...

Water Research Commission (WRC) workshop

On 20 March 2019, Wessel van Wyk was privileged to present at a workshop hosted by the Water Research Commission (WRC) of South Africa. The workshop, entitled “A Framework for Management of IP Emanating From WRC-Supported R&D”, was aimed at strengthening the intellectual property (IP)...

GIPC 2019: 11th Global Intellectual Property Convention

Bangaluru, India  Wessel van Wyk attended the 11th Global Intellectual Property Convention (GIPC) in India from 17 - 19 January 2019. The GIPC is Asia's leading conference on Innovation and IP for in-house Intellectual Property counsels, innovators and attorneys from around the world. Since...

365 Ubuntu Climbs

With the Renaissance Guy The Renaissance Guy, Andrew Patterson, has a goal of hiking up Table Mountain, Cape Town, every day for a full year… but for what purpose? Last year, Andrew realised that he had a calling to contribute something positive in South Africa, so he started the 365 Ubuntu Climbs...

Congratulations to Jacques and Kim

Smit & Van Wyk, Inc. is proud to announce that two of our candidate patent attorneys, Jacques Steyn and Kimberley Conroy (previously Smith), passed the Drafting of Patent Specifications examination set by the South African Patent Examination Board (PEB) on their first attempt! The Drafting of...

Know your IP

IP (Intellectual property) is considered an asset for any business. Intellectual Property is an intangible asset which means that the asset is not physical, it is as the result of human creativity, thought and inventiveness, and this type of asset forms the intellectual capital of a business. So...

The Yimi™ personal information system

The Yimi™ personal information system provides secure sharing and authenticating of information with service providers. It is an easy-to-use system for transmitting personal information from a client's smartphone with consent recorded on and tracking provided by our servers. The information is...

ANC vs ADeC Logo

Since the African Democratic Change (ADeC) emerged as a new political party in South Africa it’s ADeC logo has drawn much attention because of its similarities to that of the ANC logo. The similarities included the use of the black, green and yellow colour combinations, the hand holding a torch,...

Congratulations to Rogan and Kelsey

Smit & Van Wyk, Inc. proudly celebrate two of our candidate attorneys that have completed their articles of clerkship. On Monday 29 January 2018, Rogan Bruce and Kelsey Savig have been admitted as attorneys in the High Court of South Africa. Rogan Bruce has served as a candidate Attorney...