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Intellectual Property

South Africa
Smit & Van Wyk Patent, Trademark & Registered Designs

South Africa Patents

South Africa patents have a duration of 20 years and annual renewal fees are payable from the 3rd anniversary of the filing date. South Africa is a member of PCT and the Paris Convention (International treaty for the protection of Industrial Property). South Africa patents have a requirement of absolute novelty, inventiveness and usefulness.

  • We offer an all-inclusive discounted charge for filing a patent application in South Africa which includes filing, arranging for publication of acceptance, and obtaining the certificate of grant.
  • A Form P.3 (POA) and Form P.26 must be filed in support of the application, but these may be filed belatedly at no additional cost.
  • The deadline for filing PCT national phase applications is 31 months from the earliest priority, extendable by a further 3 months.
  • The deadline for filing convention applications is 12 months from the earliest priority, extendable by a further 3 months.
  • No excess fees based on the number of claims or the length of the specification is applicable.
  • South African Patent Applications are NOT subjected to substantive examination.
  • The first renewal fee falls due 3 years from the international filing date or South African complete filing date (for non-convention and convention applications).
  • The notice of acceptance usually issues within 9 to 12 months from the date of filing in South Africa.
  • A patent is granted within 3 months from the acceptance date.

Types of Patents:

  • Patents of Invention
  • National Phase PCT Application
  • Patents of Addition

Patent Duration / Renewals:

The patent has a duration of 20 years from date of filing. Annual renewal fees are payable in advance from the third anniversary of the filing date.

Patent Filing Requirements

Non-PCT applications:

  • Simply signed Power of Attorney (must be filed within 6 months of the filing date)
  • Specification, claims, drawings and abstract (required upon filing)
  • Specification, claims, drawings and abstract in English if originally filed in a different language (must be filed within 3 months of the filing date)
  • Simply signed statement on the Use of Indigenous Biological Resources, Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge or Use (must be filed within 6 months of the filing date)
  • Deed of assignment (can be late filed)
  • Certified copy of the priority document (if applicable) (can be late filed)

PCT applications:

  • Simply signed Power of Attorney (must be filed within 6 months of the filing date)
  • Specification, claims, drawings and abstract (required upon filing)
  • Specification, claims, drawings and abstract in English if originally filed in a different language (must be filed within 3 months of the filing date)
  • Simply signed statement on the Use of Indigenous Biological Resources, Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge or Use (must be filed within 6 months of the filing date)
  • Deed of assignment (can be late filed)
  • Certified copy of the priority document (if applicable) (can be late filed)
  • Published International application (required upon filing)
  • International Search Report and International Preliminary Report on Patentability (can be late filed)

International and Regional Systems

PCT

South Africa is a signatory of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The Patent Cooperation Treaty ensures that by filing one international patent application, that applicants can simultaneously seek protection for an invention in other PCT member countries. A PCT National Phase entry provides a unified procedure for filing patent applications to protect intellectual property in each of its contracting states.

Paris Convention

South Africa is a member of the Paris Convention where each contracting state must grant the same IP protection to nationals of other contracting states, and provides for the right of priority in the case of patents, trademarks and designs. The Paris Convention is an international agreement which helps creators ensure that their intellectual property is protected in other countries. It applies to IP in the widest sense as it covers patents, trademarks and industrial designs to name a few.

TRIPS

The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights is an international legal agreement between all the member nations of the World Trade Organization.

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