How to patent an idea in South Africa

To patent an idea in South Africa is surprisingly affordable and quick.

Our charge to prepare a provisional patent application; draft the patent drawings using your 3D CAD model; arrange the patent application forms; and file your provisional patent application at the South African patent office is R19,950 (exclusive of VAT). Should you wish us to conduct a patent search before commencing with the provisional patent, our charge for doing so is R9,950.

The process generally takes 2 weeks. During this period we will arrange to discuss your invention (either in person or by phone / skype), we then prepare a draft provisional patent specification and drawings (using your 3D CAD model) for your approval, and send you a patent form P3 for signature and return to us via courier.

See our article summarising patent costs.

Worldwide Patent Costs
(*Estimated costs)

After filing your provisional patent application, you can freely disclose your idea to anyone – start discussions with manufacturers, speak to potential funders, conduct market research, and sell some prototypes.

Thereafter, we will send you regular reminders to file a complete or international patent application by the 12 month deadline.

Don’t be intimidated by the patent process. Let us be your guide. See feedback from our clients in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth.

2 thoughts on “How to patent an idea in South Africa”

  1. Ashvir says:

    Good day, I have a design/product I would like to patent but would like to enquire as to if I patent it in South Africa, does that mean that the idea can be used and manufactured in other countries? Or how would I go about ensuring it cannot be used internationally?


    1. admin says:

      Hi Ashvir

      Patents are territorial. So, if you require patent protection in the US, you will need ultimately to file a patent in the US. But, to start, you need first to file a South African provisional patent. This will reserve your right to file patents in most countries for a period of 12 months. If you wish to extend this to 30 months, you must file a PCT / International patent by the first anniversary of filing your South African provisional patent. But, bear in mind that a PCT patent only reserves your right to file patents in most countries for a further 18 month period. It does not actually mature into an “international patent”. By the 30th month from filing your South African provisional patent, you will need to file “national phase” patents in the US, EU, SA and other countries in which you intend to obtain patent protection. The validity of these “national phase” patents will be tested as at the date of filing your original South African provisional patent.

      But, don’t worry too much about the 30 month delay in filing foreign patents. If someone in the US starts copying your idea a month after filing your SA provisional patent, you can immediately file a US patent without having to wait the full 12 / 30 months.

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