Smit & Van Wyk Patent, Trademark & Registered Designs

Patents: Getting Started

Intellectual Property Attorneys

1. Novelty Searches in view of obtaining patent protection for an invention

If a product or concept identical to yours is already in existence anywhere in the world then you cannot obtain patent protection for the same concept in South Africa (or in most other countries for that matter). However, should you have invented an improvement on an existing concept and the improvement is (i) new, (ii) inventive, and (iii) has a use in trade, industry or agriculture, then such improvement may certainly be patentable. In order to get an indication of whether such a product already exists anywhere in the world, we are able to conduct a fixed-cost, fixed-time novelty search through the European and American patent offices’ databases. Such a search would give an indication of the novelty of the invention, however, keep in mind that it would not guarantee the invention’s novelty. (The cost for such a search is typically R3000 including VAT for a fixed-cost, 2 hour patent novelty search and reporting thereof).

2. Patent and/or registered design protection

The drafting of a patent specification or a design application is best done by registered patent attorneys. This includes the official Patent Office fee, as well as the costs of all drawings, which are done by our draughtsman. As such, we do not require formal drawings from you – merely a good description of the invention and some freehand drawings. It usually takes about 20 working days for the preparation and forwarding of the specification to you for approval prior to filing. If all goes well and there is a market for your product, you should, within 12 months from the date of filing of the provisional patent application, file a so-called complete patent application which, in South Africa, will be about 30% more than the cost for drafting and filing of the provisional patent application. Foreign patent applications also need to be filed at such time, given a reasonable possibility of success in a foreign market.

3. Complete our Invention Description Form (IDF) so that we may provide you with a more accurate cost estimate.

We will be able to provide you with information regarding the suitability of your invention for design protection upon receipt of the completed IDF. The IDF also contains the website addresses of the US and EU patent offices, where you may conduct your own patent and design searches to obtain an indication of whether your idea already exists.

Our communications with our clients are subject to attorney/client privilege and are treated in a highly confidential manner.
Posted on 15 June 2011
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Patent Attorneys
It is highly recommended that your claims be written by a qualified patent attorney or patent agent. The patent attorneys at Smit & Van Wyk provide a wide range of patent-related services across multiple industries and fields of technologies, including patent drafting, filing and prosecution.

Mauritius Trademarks
Mauritius trademarks recognise the Nice Classification of goods and services, and allows for multi-class filing. Mauritius trademarks are valid for 10 years from the filing date and renewable for periods of 10 years each upon payment of the renewal fee.

Franchise Attorneys
Franchising legal advice is specialised and differs from other areas of law, thus you need find yourself an attorney that specialises in this specific type of law. Franchise attorneys represent the franchisor, as well as the franchisee. 

PCT National Phase Patents
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.