How to file a patent

To file a patent is a process. How you go about filing a patent depends on whether you intend to secure a patent in South Africa only or whether you intend to file patents in three or more countries.

To protect your invention:

  • Start by calling a patent attorney to confirm that your invention is patentable – there is no use filing a patent for software, a game or a business method that is unenforceable. See our examples of “inventions” for which you cannot file patents. Note: we do not charge for chatting to potential clients over the phone. And, these discussions are confidential.
  • Conduct a patent search to confirm that your invention does not already exist. Remember that less than 0.3% of patented products end up in the shops. Our cost to perform a professional international online patent search is fixed at R4,950. Estimated time: 3-4 business days.
  • File a South African provisional patent for only R6,950 plus vat. Note: up until the date of filing a provisional patent, you must keep your invention secret. Any disclosures (apart from disclosures to patent attorneys) should be made under confidentiality agreements. Estimated time: 2 weeks.
  • Within 12 months of filing the provisional patent either: (i) file a South African complete patent for R8,950 plus vat or file an international / PCT patent application for as little as R28,000. Estimated time: 2 weeks.
  • Within 18 months of filing a PCT patent, file national phase patents in countries you intend to trade. See our foreign patent cost table for cost estimates to file patents in the most popular countries.

Following filing of national phase patents, annual renewal fees are generally payable. To save on patent renewal costs, use our online worldwide patent renewal system.

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Johannesburg
South Africa

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