Provisional patent

To protect your invention, start by filing a South African provisional patent. This reserves your right to file patents worldwide for 12 months. Although this type of patent does not protect you from copycats – only a granted complete patent does this – it does allow you freely to tell people about your idea. After filing a provisional patent, you need not keep your invention secret. You can self-file a provisional patent through either GlobalIPCo for $199 or Iptica for $99. See our provisional patent drafting and filing guide.

Use this 1-year period wisely. Obtain market feedback and develop your product further. Any improvements / additions you create during this 1-year period can be incorporated into your subsequently filed complete patent.

Try our Patent Template and filing guide.

Complete patent

In 12 months time, you will need to decide whether to secure patent rights in:

  • South Africa only, in which case, you should file a South African complete patent within 12-15 months of filing your provisional patent; or
  • South Africa and various foreign countries, in which case, you should file a PCT / international patent within 12 months of filing your provisional patent.

If you file a PCT patent, the next step is to file national phase patents in countries where you wish to secure patent rights within 30 months of filing your South African provisional patent. Easily self-file South African and Nigerian national phase patents through GlobalIPCo.

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