Patent Rights Assignment & Licensing

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Patent rights refer to the exclusive rights awarded to an inventor or group of inventors for a period of time in South Africa, providing them monopoly rights over the usage, making, distribution, and commercial exploitation of the invention for the period in South Africa. The periods for granting of patent rights differ from country to country and as such it is recommended that you get legal guidance regarding the period for patent rights granted in a specific country. Patent rights can be transferred from one party to another in the same way that property can be sold. All the rights can be transferred by means of assignment (thus all the interest) or only part of the interest or rights.

License Agreements

In addition, license agreements can be set up where the patentee can grant specific rights for a particular period in a specified geographic region to another party. The terms and conditions are spelled out in the license agreement. The patentee then receives royalties for usage, distribution, importation, and making from the licensee according to the stipulations of the license agreement. In this case the patentee thus keeps the patent rights and only awards specific rights to the licensee. One can furthermore award an exclusive license of patent rights to a party. In such a case the patentee undertakes not to compete with the licensee according to the stipulations of the license agreement. This means that patent rights can only be awarded to inventions which have not been used, imported, sold or being disclosed anywhere in the world before the initial patent filing date. Disclosures include that of abstracts, posters, unprotected emails, informal discussions with parties not directly involved in the development of the invention, articles in journals and any form of advertising.