What Is a Patent?
A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. The patent provides protection for the invention to the owner of the patent. The protection is granted for a limited period, generally 20 years. Patent-protection means that the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed or sold without the owner’s consent.

Services of patents experts
In terms of the South African Patents Act , individuals may file their own provisional patent applications. It is however, advisable for applicants to seek the assistance of the Patent Attorneys.

If a provisional patent application is filed and the invention is then made public, the strength and breadth and scope of protection ultimately obtained will depend on the wording and content of the specification, the broad definitions and detailed description of the invention. The Patent Office takes precautions to maintain confidentiality but cannot be held responsible for what occurs outside the office.

Patent Attorneys and Agents are familiar with international requirements and are thus in a position to draft provisional specifications in an internationally acceptable fashion, thus promoting protection both in South Africa and abroad.

South Africa is one of many countries that accepts the Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT). This Treaty allows an individual to file an international patent application, along with the national patent application.

What is the lifespan of a patent?
A patent can last up to 20 years, provided that it is renewed annually from the third year. It is important to pay an annual renewal fee to keep it in force. The patent expires after 20 years from the date of application.

The patent journal
This is a journal that CIPC publishes on a monthly basis, and it contains information for the different stages of the registration for Patents, Trademarks, Designs, Copyright cinematograph films in South Africa.This Patent Journal is obtainable from Government Printers in Pretoria.

The Patent Office cannot accept any responsibility for the loss of rights arising if the invention becomes public and is copied and the provisional specifications have not been properly drafted.