Patent Requirements in South Africa

Intellectual Property
Home / South Africa / Patent Requirements in South Africa

Patent requirements in South Africa include novelty, inventive and useful. Novelty can never be determined conclusively, but an indication of the novelty of your invention may be found by conducting a patent search. South Africa has a an absolute novelty requirement, which means that disclosure of the invention anywhere in the world will destroy the novelty of your invention, thereby forfeiting your patent rights.

If you found an invention in another country it will not be possible to obtain patent protection for the invention in South Africa because you are not the inventor. Only the inventor or person to whom the rights has been assigned to may apply for patent protection. For more information regarding patents, please view our patents page.

Patent PCT National phase

The Patent Cooperation Treaty or PCT is an international patent law treaty. The PCT provides a unified procedure for filing patent applications to protect inventions in each of its contracting states. Smit & Van Wyk Intellectual Property law firm specialises in Patent PCT National Phase applications in most African countries including South Africa. 

The PCT National Phase is the second of the two main phases of the PCT procedure. It follows the international phase and consists in the processing of the international application before each Office of (or acting for a Contracting State) that has been designated in the international application. It is possible to file a single patent application to cover all the PCT countries. 

A PCT National Phase entry provides a unified procedure for filing patent applications to protect intellectual property in each of its contracting states. A patent application filed under the PCT is called an international application, or PCT application. A single filing of an international application is made with a Receiving Office (RO) in one language. It then results in a search performed by an International Searching Authority (ISA), accompanied by a written opinion regarding the patentability of the invention, which is the subject of the application.

The PCT National Phase entry essentially leads to a standard national or regional patent application, which may be granted or rejected according to applicable law, in each jurisdiction in which a patent is desired. The Contracting states which are parties to the PCT, constitute the International Patent Cooperation Union.

Invention Description Form

Filling in this form will assist us in drafting a better patent specification for your invention. You will find that this form helps you to order your thoughts about your invention, so that you may end up with a slightly different view of what your actual invention is, once you have completed the form. We strive to protect the actual invention and its principles of operation, and not just an embodiment thereof. 

Important notice: Filling out this form does not provide protection for your invention. Only once we have taken instructions from you to file a patent application and only once the application has in fact been filed, is your invention protected. The invention therefore has to be kept secret until we report to you that the application has been filed.

Download Form