Tips to reduce the cost of South African patents

South African patents offer incredible value and should be a default selection during the PCT national phase. Here are some tips on how to reduce the cost of South African patents:

Delay amendments

Many applicants spend a lot of money vetting South African patents and amending them prior to grant. This is generally not necessary. Firstly, if the patent has been drafted to conform with EU patent law, it is generally compliant with South African law. Further, since amendments that narrow the scope of the claims may be made at any stage, we generally suggest delaying effecting an amendment until just prior to instituting infringement proceedings. Since less than 0.05% of South African patents are enforced, following this approach will reduce vetting and amendment costs by 99.95%.

Retain reference numerals

South African Courts have confirmed decades ago that reference numerals do not affect the scope of claims in a South African patent. Do not waste money amending South African patent claims to remove reference numerals.

Pay all 17 renewals on filing

Instead of paying a large renewal fee every year, pay all 17 renewals “to term” on filing. This reduces the total renewal cost to US$285 and shields you from future increases in official fees. All patent applications filed using the GlobalIPCo system qualify for this heavily discounted “to term” renewal option.

Use the GlobalIPCo online system

The GlobalIPCo system files +500 South African patents per month, representing about 50% of new South African patent applications. By automating the filing and prosecution process, GlobalIPCo is able to reduce the cost of South African national phase patents to:

Filing: US$399 (with further discounted pricing available to patent law firms)

Acceptance / publication: US$70

Courier: US$ 110 per parcel (provided that each parcel may include 4 patent certificates)

The above costs are all-inclusive, covering official fees.

Market SA as a “34 month” country

Although South Africa is generally regarded as a “31 month country”, the GlobalIPCo system does not charge extra to request the 3 month extension. Market South African national phase patents to clients during the 31-34 month phase, when clients are not distracted by other national phase filing options.

Also, consider requesting accelerated acceptance (at no additional cost), which reduces the time to grant of the patent to about 4 months (the extended timeline due to delays caused by COVID).

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