The second step is to file a complete patent application within 12 months of filing the provisional patent application in South Africa, and/or in each country where you wish to obtain patent protection.
The complete patent application will claim a first (or “priority”) date from your provisional patent application. In other words, the rights you are protecting date back to the filing date of your South African provisional patent application. During the initial 12 month patent grace period, your rights are kept open.
Steps to File a Patent Application
- Contact a Qualified Patent Attorney: Qualified patent attorneys specialise in the identification, protection, prosecution and enforcement of patents. An Attorney who has this qualification is entitled to register and file a patent in South Africa.
- Establish the type of Patent: Patents of Invention, National Phase PCT Application or Patents of Addition.
- Prepare your Application: Your patent attorney will prepare the specifications, claims, drawings and abstract for your invention which will be required upon filing.
- File a provisional application: To obtain the earliest possible date from which to claim rights to your invention. Once the provisional patent has been submitted, additional steps has to be taken within 12 months to complete the application.
- File a complete application: Within 12 months of filing the provisional application in South Africa, and/or in each country where you wish to obtain patent protection.
PCT National Phase
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.