When an invention is patented, it cannot be commercially made, used, distributed or sold without the owner’s consent.  A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention or idea. In order to obtain patent protection in South Africa, the owner of the invention has to file a provisional patent filing. The CIPC is the government authority that grants patent applications in South Africa. A European registered patent has no legal effect in South Africa.

Obtaining a patent is essentially a two-step process, with the two steps being spaced 12 months apart. The first step is to file a  provisional patent application to obtain the earliest possible date from which to claim rights to your invention. Filing a South African provisional patent application that adequately describes the invention will establish priority. Ultimately you will need to file a complete patent application in order to obtain a patent in South Africa.

PCT: South African residents can file a PCT application within the 12-month period from the filing date of their provisional patent application. The PCT procedure is valid for 18 months and maintains your priority date in all 145 contracting states (including U.S, Europe, China, Russia, France, Japan).


National Phase: After 30 months from the earliest filing date you can file a complete patent application with CIPC, or any other PCT member countries in which you want to obtain protection.