How CIPC automation of South Africa’s patent system doubled South African patent filings and reduced costs

Automation of CIPC’s patent system

From Tuesday 12 December 2022, the South African Patent Office will start issuing Notices of Acceptance electronically.

Only one small step left – electronic certificates.

The South African Patent Office has made great strides in automating its patent system. Starting with payment of patent renewals online, a couple of years ago the Patent Office simplified online patent filings. Now, the Patent Office accepts late-lodging of documents online. From February 2023, we expect issuance of electronic acceptances to shorten the time from filing to acceptance of South African patents. Once certificates can be issued electronically, the Patent Office will enjoy a highly efficient, 100% electronic system.

CIPC automation has reduced patent cost

These radical developments at the South African Patent Office have resulted in a significant reduction in the cost of South African patents. Historically, the lifetime cost of a South African patent (inclusive of all renewal fees) was about $4,700. Today, it is $581 (i.e. $296.50 for filing to courier of the patent certificate, and $285 for payment of 17 renewals).

CIPC automation created an ecosystem

By automating its patent system, the Patent Office has forced South African law firms to create bespoke online systems (such as the GlobalIPCo system – the largest filer of South African patents), which bespoke systems significantly reduced professional fees and more than doubled the number of South African patent filings over the past 18 months – the largest patent growth rate of any Patent Office worldwide.

Well done to the South African Patent Office!

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