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South Africa Patents

Patent & Design Protection

South Africa patents have a duration of 20 years and annual renewal fees are payable from the 3rd anniversary of the filing date. South Africa is a member of PCT and the Paris Convention (International treaty for the protection of Industrial Property). South Africa patents have a requirement of absolute novelty, inventive and useful.

PCT National Phase entries provide a unified procedure for filing patent applications to protect intellectual property in each of its contracting states. A patent application filed under the PCT is called an international application, or PCT application. A single filing of an international application is made with a Receiving Office (RO) in one language. It then results in a search performed by an International Searching Authority (ISA), accompanied by a written opinion regarding the patentability of the invention, which is the subject of the application. The PCT National Phase entry essentially leads to a standard national or regional patent application, which may be granted or rejected according to applicable law, in each jurisdiction in which a patent is desired. 

Types of Patents:

  • Patents of Invention
  • National Phase PCT Application
  • Patents of Addition

Filing Requirements:

Non-PCT applications:

  • Simply signed Power of Attorney (must be filed within 6 months of the filing date)
  • Specification, claims, drawings and abstract (required upon filing)
  • Specification, claims, drawings and abstract in English if originally filed in a different language (must be filed within 3 months of the filing date)
  • Simply signed statement on the Use of Indigenous Biological Resources, Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge or Use (must be filed within 6 months of the filing date)
  • Deed of assignment (can be late filed)
  • Certified copy of the priority document (if applicable) (can be late filed)

PCT applications:

  • Simply signed Power of Attorney (must be filed within 6 months of the filing date)
  • Specification, claims, drawings and abstract (required upon filing)
  • Specification, claims, drawings and abstract in English if originally filed in a different language (must be filed within 3 months of the filing date)
  • Simply signed statement on the Use of Indigenous Biological Resources, Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge or Use (must be filed within 6 months of the filing date)
  • Deed of assignment (can be late filed)
  • Certified copy of the priority document (if applicable) (can be late filed)
  • Published International application (required upon filing)
  • International Search Report and International Preliminary Report on Patentability (can be late filed)

Novelty:

Absolute novelty required.

Patentability: 

Methods of medical diagnosis, treatment or surgery are not patentable.

Examination:

None.

Duration/Renewals:

The patent has a duration of 20 years from date of filing. Annual renewal fees are payable in advance from the third anniversary of the filing date.

International and Regional Systems:

  • Paris Convention
  • PCT

Types of Designs:

  • Industrial Designs (Aesthetic and Functional designs)

Filing Requirements:

  • Declaration and Power of Attorney (must be filed within 6 months of the filing date)
  • Details of the Applicant (full names, physical address, nationality/country of incorporation)
  • Type of design (Aesthetic or Functional)
  • Drawings or photographs of the design (required upon filing)
  • A statement indicating the kind of products for which the design is to be used
  • Classification in terms of the Locarno Agreement
  • Certified copy of priority document (if applicable) (must be filed within 6 months of the filing date)
  • Verified English translation of the priority document if not in English (must be filed within 6 months of the filing date)
  • Deed of assignment (must be filed within 12 months of the filing date)

Duration/Renewals:

An Aesthetic design has a term of 15 years from date of filing whereas a Functional design has a term of 10 years from date of filing.

International and Regional Systems:

  • Paris Convention
Africa | Intellectual Property

African Territories

Smit & Van Wyk provides a full range of IP legal services in all African countries where Intellectual Property protection is available. We can provide information on the filing requirements in each of the African countries and can also offer information on the various regional IP organisations such as ARIPO, OAPI and the Madrid protocol. We work with a network of trusted and knowledgeable agents to develop the best possible solution to each of our clients’ IP needs in Africa.