What can I patent?

You can patent:

  • a “new feature” you are adding to a product or board game;
  • a “new step” in a business method or software App; and
  • a “new formulation” or “new cooking method” for a food product,

if they are not “obvious”.

Can I get a Patent Pending Number if I have questions about inventiveness / obviousness?

“Obviousness” is a subjective concept, and need not be a bar to getting a Patent Pending Number. If, in 12 months time, you decide to take the next step and file a corresponding Compete Patent outside South Africa, be prepared to argue “inventiveness” with the examiner. Until then, you may assume inventiveness.

Merely marking your product “Patent Pending” will deter competitors and attract customer – just ask Audi, which marketed their A6 on the flimsy claim that it was covered by more patents than Nasa’s space shuttle.

Audi car patent

What you can’t patent

The following a are generally not patentable:

  • Simplifying a product by removing a feature.
  • Changing the material.
  • Merely combining features.
  • Changing the power source.
  • Highlighting a new benefit for an existing product.
  • Using an existing product in a new way.
  • Merely changing the shape of a product – rather file design registrations.

How to patent

Start with an international online patent search to confirm that your “new feature / step / formulation” is in fact “new”. The biggest mistake inventors make is spending a lot of money drafting and filing a provisional patent through a Patent Attorney without first conducting a search. The cost of a professional international online patent search is only R9,950 plus vat.

Next, decide what kind of patent to file – a provisional patent, a complete patent, or a PCT patent.

Is patenting expensive?

Patents can be expensive, but there are surprisingly affordable options:

  • You can get a Patent Pending Number online for only $199. Use our Patent Template to prepare the document without paying a Patent Attorney. The Patent Pending Number will last you for 12 months.
  • You can get a Patent Attorney to draft and file your provisional patent for only R19,950 plus vat.
  • You can get a Patent Attorney to draft and file a South African complete patent for only R22,950 plus vat.
  • You can get a patent attorney to draft and file an international / PCT patent for as little as R45,000.
Latest Specials
  • Register provisional patent

    R19,950 + vat

    Find Out More
  • Trademark search

    R2,500 + vat

    Learn More
  • Save up to 70% on renewal fees

    Save up to 70% on patent renewal fees / annuities by paying them online

    Renew Patent
  • Online SA trademark filing

    Only $199

    See More
  • Online SA design filing

    Only $299

    See More
  • Patent Pending Number

    Only $199

    See More
  • Register a Trademark in South Africa

    R3,750 + vat

    Find Out More
  • Prototype

    3D CAD drawings, renderings, poster, plastic prototype

    Find Out More
  • Patent search

    R9,950 + vat

    Find Out More

Get started with the patent process

Get in touch

Contact us

Intangible Consulting (Pty) Ltd.
9 Kruger St
South Africa

T +27 (0)11 483 1439
T +27 (0)11 483 3128 (alt.)
C +27 (0)83 233 4582
F +27 (0)86 627 0055