Smit & Van Wyk Patent, Trademark & Registered Designs

What is a Patent?

Intellectual Property

So what is a Patent and why is it so important?

A patent is the sole right granted to an inventor by the State for a given length of time in exchange for making the invention known to the public. Application for a patent in South Africa must be made through the CIPC in Pretoria and are only valid in South Africa. Patents must be applied for in whichever other countries the inventor wishes to have protection. In return for being granted protection, the patent holder has the right to exclude others from exploiting his invention for the life of the patent, this is normally 20 years from when the first application was filed, but only if renewed annually at the South African Intellectual Property Office. In South Africa a patent is legal property, and may be disposed of in the same way as any other property. It may be licensed out for the use of others, or it may be sold, assigned or transferred, mortgaged, given away, or even just abandoned.

Why you need to do a Search

Before going ahead and making an application for a provisional patent, it is advisable to carry out a novelty search to make sure that the invention really is new. This involves a manual search at the Paper Based Disclosure Centre at CIPC in Pretoria and is the body responsible for the granting of patents. It falls under the umbrella of the South African Department of Trade and Industry. Providing that the search has not found any conflicting inventions, an application can be made to CIPC for a provisional patent. In South Africa this is best carried out by an Attorney.

The Application Process

All documents should be typed or printed. It is most important that the description of the specification is comprehensive and clear, and where applicable, drawings must be attached, on A4 pages. A provisional patent lasts for 12 months, and during this time an application for a full patent should be made to the South African Patents Office in Pretoria. Application forms for the full patent must be made out by a South African Patent Attorney. As another option the application may be made with the Patent Co-operation Treaty System (PCT). This allows you to file one international application that offers protection in a number of countries other than South Africa. The applicant may make this application him/herself, thus affording a substantial saving. After the full patent is granted it must be advertised in the Patent Journal, this being the means of making it public. It is always advisable, when applying for a South African patent to make use of the services of a South African Patent Attorney as they are specifically trained in the knowledge of local Intellectual Property laws.

Posted on 19 February 2016
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Intellectual Property in South Africa

Smit & Van Wyk deals exclusively with patents, designs, trademarks, copyright and plant breeders’ rights in South Africa. Our team of Intellectual Property attorneys have the knowledge, experience and resources to give expert legal advice regarding your Intellectual Property portfolio. We can assist with the protection, prosecution and enforcement thereof. It is our mission to provide unparalleled service to our treasured clients by developing dynamic solutions which are tailored to suit individual Intellectual Property needs. The key to achieving this lies with our vibrant people, who are eager to go beyond the call of duty.

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.

South Africa Intellectual Property
Smit & Van Wyk deals exclusively with patents, designs, trademarks, copyright and plant breeders’ rights in South Africa. Our team of Intellectual Property attorneys have the knowledge, experience and resources to give expert legal advice regarding your Intellectual Property portfolio.

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.