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:

  • See Iptica for discussions on what 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. Also, see our easy DIY provisional patent drafting and filing guide.
  • 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.
  • File a South African provisional patent through GlobalIPCo for only $199 or through Iptica for only $99. 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. Tailor your own NDA for free at SuperNDA.
  • Within 12 months of filing the provisional patent either: (i) file a South African complete patent through a South African Patent Attorney or file an international / PCT patent application.
  • 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. GlobalIPCo files South African and Nigerian national phase patents for only $399 and $600, respectively.

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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