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Patent Formulas

Some of the frequently asked questions about patenting for example, a patent formula are briefly answered below.

Can I patent a formula?
You cannot patent formulas for Mathematics, but you can patent formula applications such as software for applying the patent formula.

If something is new, original, and useful can it be patented?
If it involves an inventive step and is useful to trade or agriculture it can be patented. A patent for a scientific formula, however, will not be granted. Treatments and formulas cannot be patented.

What about a patented formula for medication?
Many pills are patented, but not the formulas, rather the end products. As such you should take note that you cannot patent a surgical procedure.

Why can’t a discovery be patented?
Similar to patenting a formula, a discovery is not the result of human creation. It was there before and you simply discovered its existence. The fact has not changed just because you discovered such. If you are able to use the discovery and create an invention based on the discovery you will be able to patent such.

Why is a patent formula of Mathematics not patentable?
The information has been there and you simply discovered it. In addition, math formulas are considered valuable and thus of use to the public.

Apart from a patent formula, why can products of nature not be patented?
A physical phenomenon cannot be patented because you did not create such. The same applies for a living thing. You can also not patent a combination of bacteria if properties still occur in nature. You can pretty much not take credit for something which is already there and thus not new.

Intellectual Property in South Africa

Copyright
Copyright does NOT have to be registered in South Africa. Copyright vests in the author of a work once the work is created in a material form. In South Africa, the term for copyright protection is 50 years, either from the end of the year in which it was created or made publicly available.

Patents
A South African patent may be granted for an invention or idea that is new, inventive and useful. Obtaining a patent in South Africa is a two-step process, with the two steps being spaced 12 months apart. A provisional patent application is filed in order to obtain the earliest possible date from which to claim rights.

Designs
A registered design protects the appearance of an object. Aesthetic designs protect the appearance of an object irrespective of the aesthetic value thereof. Functional designs protect the appearance of an article in as far as its appearance is necessitated by the function that the object is to perform.

Trademarks
A trademark distinguishes your goods or services from the goods or services of others.  Once a trademark is registered in South Africa it needs to be renewed every 10 years to stay in force. A trademark may be registered forever.  Name, Slogan, Logo, Shapes, Motions, Positions, Gestures, scents, Sounds, Textures.