1. Patent search – to determine whether you have something patentable
Before registering a patent for an invention:
- identify the benefits of your invention;
- identify features that you have “added” to yield those benefits. Note: you cannot patent “benefits”, only features you have added. The “removal” of features is also not patentable; and
- conduct an international online patent search for the most essential features you have added.
The search will highlight what can be patented.
An international online patent search takes about a week and costs R4,503 (inclusive of vat). The report includes copies of relevant documents and our opinion regarding what should be patented.
2. South African provisional patent
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 R7,914.60 (inclusive of vat).
3. Complete patent – South African or PCT
Within 12 months of filing a provisional patent, you will need to either:
- file a South African complete patent for R10,120.40 (inclusive of vat), in which case you will secure patent rights in South Africa only; or
- file a PCT patent application, which can be filed for just under R28,000.
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.