Patent Registration in .

Whatever invention you make, there is always a possibility of it being copied. This is why it is extremely important to protect your intellectual property so that you can have exclusive rights as well as legal protection. There are numerous businesses entering the South African market, making the competition more severe.

Let us understand the patent registration process in South Africa in details.

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Patent registration services in South Africa

For patents, South Africa follows a first-to-file system. Failing to register a patent will put you at a risk of getting your intellectual property stolen or copied. This is why it is important to obtain a patent as soon as possible. To register a patent in South Africa, the applicant can file an application online through the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC)

Types of Patents

Types of Patents in South Africa

There are different types of patents in South Africa including provisional patent, international/PCT patent, and complete/national phase patent. You must follow these requirements before obtaining a patent.

The development/invention is patentable topic: Your invention should be unique enough to be patented, and fall under these categories: toys, machines, apparatuses, clinical gadgets, drugs, new assembling measures or mechanical techniques, programming(related to a technical solution), organic material.

Novelty: Whatever you intend to patent, it should be new; never seen in the market before. If that is not the case, it will not be eligible for a patent. Every single invention needs to be completely new in the public domain.

Utility: The practicality of your invention should be enough that it can be applied in the industry. It should do what it claims otherwise it might not obtain a patent.

There are various inventions that are not qualified for a patent, and these include numerical calculations or models, mental ideas or cycles, imaginative manifestations, plans, standards or speculations, artistic works, methods for treatment of animals and humans, games, and computer programmes.

There are three types of patents:

  • Provisional Patent: Even though this is not a complete or full patent and cannot protect your invention from being copied, it still allows you to disclose your idea or invention. It reserves your right to file patents worldwide for 12 months.
  • Complete Patent (for South Africa only): After 12 months of filing a provisional patent, you must decide if you want to file for a complete patent or not. A complete patent will allow you to have full rights over your intellectual property.
  • PCT/International Patent: Through this patent, you can secure a patent in multiple countries. This patent should be filed within 12 months of filing a provisional patent. If you choose this type of patent, the next step is to file national phase patents in the countries you want to where you want to obtain patent rights. This has to be done within 30 months of filing a provisional patent.

How to register a Patent in South Africa?

Step 1


Before filing an application, searching for already registered patents is always important. If you do not conduct a thorough search, you might not know if your invention is already patented or not. You can also understand the reasons of patent applications getting rejected. It is recommended to use a patent search service by an attorney or agent if you are inexperienced.

Step 1

Step 2


To file for a patent application in South Africa, the application and all of its content have to be in English language. It is possible to file in any other language other than English but a translation has to be provided within 3 months of filing. A notice will be sent to the applicant if any documentation is missing. The applicant has to provide all that is missing in due time otherwise the application may be abandoned.

The application must contain:

  • The application fees;
  • Specifications and details of the patent;
  • Drawings (when necessary, for example a design);
  • Priority document (if applicable);
  • Power of Attorney;
  • Proof of application payment fee;
  • Priority claim (if applicable).
Step 2

Step 3


After the application is recorded, it is examined for formal requirements only. Substantive examination is not carried out. If the application is missing any documentation

In case there is any issue with the application or if the examiner needs extra documentation, a notification is given to the candidate which must be responded to in due time. If the candidate fails to respond, the patent will not be granted.

Step 3

Step 4


If there is no problem with the application, it gets published within 15 months of filing. It is usually published for 90 days during which it can be challenged/opposed by anyone.

Step 4

Step 5


If any party has objections against the publication, it can challenge the application and if that happens, the applicant has to respond by providing arguments accordingly. If there is no response from the applicant, the application may be declined.

Step 5

Step 6


The applicant is granted patent if all the oppositions and objections are responded to accordingly, and the registration fee is paid on time.

The entire patent process takes around 4 years on average but due to the legalities (if there are any), the process can take longer.

Step 6
Price of Patents

Patent registration cost in South Africa

Your invention can be very complex, and that can increase the cost of patent registration. The cost of obtaining a patent in South Africa is relatively expensive, it ranges from $1500 to $10000.

Age of Patents

How long does a patent last in South Africa?

Patents in South Africa last for 20 years, but after the 3rd year of registration, a maintenance fee has to be paid which is known as royalty/annuity.

It is your responsibility to protect your intellectual property from everyone else and obtain legal and exclusive rights over your invention.

At Patent International, we provide hassle-free Patent services catered to your needs, in compliance with the international requirements and standards. Patent registration in South Africa doesn’t have to be complicated, and that’s why Patent International is here to assist with all of your intellectual property needs.

*What to do?  How to do it?  When to do it?  Will it work?*

If these are the questions that come to your mind when thinking of registering a Patent, you have come to the right place. We, at Patent International, answer these questions and more! Offering multiple Patent services, we guarantee client satisfaction. For expert advice and consultation, contact us now!