Patents

The South African patents system is governed by the Patents Act, 1978. The South African patent office accepts provisional and complete patent applications. As a member of the Paris Convention, complete applications may claim priority to local or foreign applications within 12 months of the earliest priority date and as a member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the patent office accepts national phase applications up to 34 months from the earliest priority date.

National phase applications

National phase applications from PCT international application may be filed up to 31 months from the priority date (extendable up to 34 months on payment of an additional fee.

For urgent filings, to secure a filing date and to receive an application number, only the international application number is required. With this, the necessary forms may be prepared and the application filed, provided the required documents below are filed within the specified periods.

The following documents are required in order to process the application:

  • Signed form P3 (declaration and power of attorney) – within 6 months* of the filing date
  • Signed form P26 (Statement on Use of Indigenous Resource) – within 6 months* of the filing date
  • Deed of assignment – within 6 months* of the filing date
  • Translation of the specification, claims, and text in the drawings within 3 months of the filing date (if the international application was not published in English)
  • Priority document (if rule 17.1 of the PCT was not complied with)
  • FICA documentation (in order to comply with South African anti-money laundering regulations)
Convention applications

Direct filing under the Paris Convention in South Africa has to be done within 12 months of the earliest priority date.

For urgent filings, the following are the minimum requirements to secure the filing date and to receive an official application number:

  • Full names of the applicants and inventors
  • Title of the invention
  • Priority application numbers and priority dates

The following documentation and deadlines will apply:

  • Signed form P3 (declaration and power of attorney) – within 6 months* of the filing date
  • Signed form P26 (Statement on Use of Indigenous Resource) – within 6 months* of the filing date
  • Deed of assignment – within 6 months* of the filing date
  • Translation of the specification, claims, and text in the drawings within 3 months of the filing date (if the international application was not published in English)
  • Certified priority documents and a translation thereof it the priority application is not in English
  • FICA documentation (in order to comply with South African anti-money laundering regulations)

* may be extended on payment of a fee.