PatentsWhat is a patent? A patent is a is a statutory monopoly granted by the Patent Office on behalf of the state which allows the proprietor of the patent to stop others from exploiting the underlying principle of an invention. In particular, a patent comprises a written patent specification document that sets out the scope of protection being claimed by a patentee with respect to an invention. In terms of the South African Patents Act No. 57 of 1978, a patent may be granted for any new invention that involves an inventive step and that is capable of being used or applied in trade or industry or agriculture. What is the process to obtain a South African patent? The patenting process typically commences with the filing of a provisional patent application, which is particularly advisable if the invention is still relatively conceptual and/or still in its infancy. Significantly, the provisional patent specification that is filed as part of the provisional application is a secret document, and is thus not open to public inspection (only brief bibliographic details are made available to the public). The provisional patent application provides the applicant with 12 months in which to develop and improve the invention and thus ultimately to determine the feasibility of continuing with the patenting process. At the end of the 12 month period, the applicant has a number of options, namely:-
- abandon the provisional application, in which case the provisional application lapses irrevocably;
- file a complete patent application, in order to obtain a granted South African patent down the line; or
- file a PCT patent application, with a view to possibly filing foreign patent applications and a South African national phase application down the line.
- The PCT Route :
- The European patent
- The OAPI Patent
- The ARIPO Patent