SOUTH AFRICA

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Patent

Forms part of

Paris Convention;
Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”);
World Trade Organisation (“WTO) / Agreement concerning the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (“TRIPS”);
Budapest Treaty; and
PCT.

Patents of invention;
Patents of addition; and
Divisional patent.

Absolute novelty applies.

Unauthorised disclosure of an invention by another party prior to the filing date of a patent application can be excused, provided the applicant files the application with reasonable diligence after learning of the disclosure.

Disclosure or knowledge of the invention prior to the filing date, as a result of the invention being worked in South Africa by way of reasonable technical trial or experiment by the applicant, can also be excused.

Patent applications are examined as to compliance with formal requirements only; i.e. the novel and inventive merit of the invention is not assessed. Subjective examination to be implemented soon.

Patents are valid for twenty years from the date of filing the complete patent application.

In order to maintain the patent in force, it is necessary for annual renewal fees to be paid, commencing at the end of the third year after the filing of the complete application. Failure to pay the renewal fees timeously results in the lapsing of the patent. A six-month grace-period may be obtained subjected to payment of prescribed fee.

A compulsory licence may be granted if the patented invention is not being worked in South Africa on a commercial scale or to an adequate extent after the expiry of a period of four years subsequent to the filing of the application of the patent or three years subsequent to the date on which that patent was sealed, which ever period expires last.