Before registering a patent for an invention:
The search will highlight what can be patented.
An international online patent search takes about a week and costs R3,950 plus vat. The report includes copies of relevant documents and our opinion regarding what should be patented.
A South African provisional patent reserves your right to file patents worldwide for a year. Use this year further to develop / manufacture your product and to receive feedback from the market. In a year's time you must decide whether to obtain a complete patent in South Africa only, or to extend your "reservation" to file patents in 152 countries for a further 18 months.
The provisional patent does not become "granted". It is not a "patent" and cannot be enforced against third parties. Filing a provisional patent merely permits you to disclose your invention publicly and to file corresponding complete patents 12 months later.
To draft and file a South African provisional patent costs R6,950 plus vat.
Within 12 months of filing a provisional patent, you will need to either:
The PCT patent extends your right to file patents in 152 countries (including South Africa) for a further 18 months (i.e. up to 30 months from the date of filing your provisional patent). During this period, you will receive an official search report and examination report from a recognized patent office. These reports are of great value to potential investors.
If a PCT patent has been filed, you will need to file a national phase patent in each country you wish to secure patent rights. For example, should you wish to obtain patent rights in the US, you will need to file a US national phase patent. A South African national phase patent costs US$585.
An annual renewal fee is payable to keep most patents in force for its 20 year term. Use our online renewal system to save on patent renewal costs.
Articles: Patent issues