Patents are the most effective tool to obtain a monopoly. By filing patents in your trading countries, you will prevent others from making, importing, selling, advertising and using an infringing product in those countries. Your patents will effectively neutralise them – for others to be permitted to trade in those countries, they would need to secure a licence in respect of your patents.

Patents need not be expensive:

  • Always start the process by conducting an international online patents search for R9,950.
  • Thereafter, prepare and file a South African provisional patent for R19,950. This will enable you to start telling people about your invention, and marketing and selling your product without the need for confidentiality agreements. The provisional patent effectively reserves your right to file patents worldwide for a period of 12 months.
  • In 12 months time, file a PCT / international patent application. This postpones the deadline for filing patents in 148 countries for a further 18 months. A PCT patent can be filed for as little as R45,000. And, improvements that you have made to the product during the 12 months from filing the South African provisional patent can be included in the PCT patent.
  • In 30 months time, file patents in countries where you intend to trade. See our foreign patents costs and our African patents costs.

After filing, foreign patents typically take between 12 and 30 months to be granted.

However, if you intend to secure patents in South Africa only, you could short-circuit the above process and merely file a South African complete patent for R22,950.

Since your patent rights will only become enforceable within a few years, it is advisable in the interim to file design registrations. This will prevent copycats from making quick and cheap knock-offs. Designs are much cheaper than patents and can be enforced within a few months of filing.

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