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Intellectual Property

South Africa

Patent Pitfalls to Avoid

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New inventors often fail to register their patents successfully because they made mistakes during or before the filing of their patent applications. Most of the patent pitfalls can be avoided if one is to take heed of the common patent pitfalls discussed below.

Discussing the patent idea with friends and family

Although a person certainly wants to share an idea with friends, it is absolutely important not to disclose any details about your invention that could enable another person to create the same or a similar invention. Apart from rendering the invention useless when it comes to the patent application because information about the invention has become public knowledge, it also creates the risk of someone else using the information to create their invention and apply for patent protection before you do so.

Registering a complete patent when there are still some work to do

One should only register a complete patent instead of a provisional patent if a person is sure that there will be no more modifications needed on the invention. You must also make sure that the invention is marketable and as such it is recommended that you first register a provisional patent. This will allow you a 12 month window in which you can test the marketability of the invention and make any modifications before having to file for the complete patent protection.

Disclosing information without a non-disclosure agreement

You may be at a point where you require the help of another person skilled in the trade to assist with further development of the invention. Do not disclose any information about the pending patent or the invention even before that without the party signing a non-disclosure agreement.

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