Inventor Assistance Program

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The recent COVID-19 pandemic did not only have socio-economic implications but has initiated one of the worst financial depressions the world has ever seen. However, as the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention” and this situation has raised the need for various sorts of inventions, having direct and indirect correlations to the current pandemic.

Although there is a need for these inventions, to counter the social/health impact and boost economic growth, it is still burdened by the financial implications. Numerous inventors have been brainstorming and coming up with various patentable ideas, whether it is directed at the pandemic or not, but when it comes to start-ups paying for adequate patent protection, inventors often encounter a “catch-22” situation.

In South Africa, the Companies of Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) offers an Inventor Assistance Program (IAP) which is essentially a Pro Bono program to assist eligible inventors in obtaining patent protection. Through the IAP, inventors will be able to overcome this financial hurdle.  However, in order to qualify for this program, there are certain requirements and criteria’s that need to be complied with. For more information regarding this process, please follow this link, CIPC.  If there is still uncertainty, Smit & Van Wyk has dedicated Patent Attorneys who will be able to explain the process and provide some guidance.