Before we get started, it’s important to understand what a patent is. Essentially, a patent is a legal right, granting the inventor the exclusive right to make, use, and sell their invention for a certain period of time, usually 20 years. This means that nobody else can make, use, or sell the invention without the inventor’s permission. You can read more about patents on the CIPC’s website.
Now, let’s talk about the process of obtaining a patent in South Africa. A first step is to conduct a search to see if your invention is new. This can be done by searching the South African Patent Register, as well as other databases like Google Patents and the European Patent Office’s database. This is not an essential step, but it is advisable, as you don’t want to waste money patenting something that already exists.
Once you are reasonably assured that your invention is new, the next step is to file a patent application with the South African Patent Office. This application should include a detailed description of your invention, as well as any drawings or diagrams that will help to explain it. This is where a patent attorney comes in – they are skilled in drafting that detailed description, called a patent specification.
After you’ve filed your patent application, in most countries the next step is for the application to be examined by a patent examiner to determine whether or not it meets the requirements for patentability. However in South Africa, your application will not be examined in this way. Therefore, you will almost always have your application granted. This does not mean that your patent is valid (new and inventive) though. If you at a later stage assert an invalid patent, the person you are accusing of patent infringement will attack the validity, and ask that the patent be removed. This will occur at your expense, so it is important that you are certain of your patent’s validity.
If your patent application is filed correctly, you will be granted a patent, and you will have exclusive rights to your invention for 20 years from the date of filing. It’s important to note that obtaining a patent can be a lengthy and expensive process, so it’s important to carefully consider whether or not it’s worth pursuing.
It’s also worth noting that patents are only enforceable within the country where they were granted. If you want to protect your invention in other countries, you will need to file separate patent applications in each of those countries.
How can I get support through this process?
In conclusion, patenting an invention in South Africa can be a complex and time-consuming process, but it can also be an important step in protecting your intellectual property and ensuring that you can profit from your invention. If you’re interested in pursuing a patent for your invention, it’s essential that you consult with a patent attorney to draft the patent specification and guide you through the process.
Taberer Attorneys Inc are specialists in patent law. Contact us for a complimentary initial consultation to discuss the patentability of your invention.
Do you have any questions about the patenting process? Please post them below.