The following information is supplied for the convenience of our clients and is to be considered as a brief and simplified outline only.
A patent is a document granting an inventor sole rights to a new invention. The invention must involve an inventive step, must be new and capable of industrial application.
An invention would involve an inventive step if it were not obvious to a person skilled in the art in light of the state of the art. State of the art comprises all matter which has been made available to the public (anywhere in the world) by written or oral description, by use or in any other way, immediately prior to the priority date of filing.
An invention is considered new if:
Depending on the country where protection is required, certain types of inventions are not capable of receiving protection. Below is a non-exhaustive list of patent exclusions:
Contact us if your invention falls in any of the above categories. Depending on the country concerned, there may be a way to obtain protection for your invention by wording the patent specification in a particular manner so as fall outside such category.
An experienced member of our staff should investigate the establishment of the existence of earlier patent specifications and other aspects. We can conduct various types of international searches on computer, including novelty searches covering 35 patent issuing authorities. Although a search may sometimes be expensive, it may prevent you from wasting money eventually. However, sometimes the costs of a search may outweigh the cost of filing a patent application in a single country, especially one as relatively inexpensive to file in, such as South Africa.
Some countries (such as South Africa) do not examine the subject matter of a patent application. They will issue patents as long as all the necessary paperwork was submitted. However, the validity of such a patent can be challenged at any time by others.
If you require patenting in several foreign countries, it may be prudent to conduct an international patent search before filing patent applications involving large expenses.
This precaution is also recommended before: