PCT National Phase Patent Applications

  1. The deadline for filing a PCT national phase patent application in South Africa is 31 months from the earliest priority date.  This period is extendable by an additional 3 months (i.e. up to 34 months) upon application to the Registrar of Patents and upon payment of an additional fee.
  2. The minimum requirement for a South African national phase patent application is the WIPO publication sheet, or the WO publication number, or the PCT international application number.
  3. The following additional documents are required to complete the filing requirements of a PCT national phase patent application:
Within 3 months of the national phase filing date
  1. English translation of the PCT specification, claims and drawings, if the application was not filed in English.*
Within 6 months of the national phase filing date (this period is extendable upon application to the Registrar)
  1. Form P3**, Declaration and Power of Attorney – signed by the applicant. 
  2. Form P26**, Statement on the use of indigenous biological resource, genetic resource, traditional knowledge or use – signed by the applicant.
  3. A certified copy of each priority document.  The priority document does not need to be translated into English.
Before acceptance (these documents must be filed in time for acceptance within 18 months, or on application to the Registrar, 21 months from the national phase filing date)
  1. Assignment of Invention** –signed by each inventor who is not an applicant.
  2. Abstract of the invention.
  3. Assignment of Priority Rights**, if the applicant is not the applicant in respect of the priority application
* The translation does not need to be certified
** No legalization of formal documents is required
  1. South Africa has a so-called “deposit system” for patents – i.e. patent applications do not undergo formal examination for the substantive patentability requirements of inventions.
  2. There is no provision for opposition to the registration of a patent application.
  3. No excess claim fees, page fees or grant fees are payable in South Africa.
  4. Patents have a maximum duration of 20 years in South Africa from the PCT filing date, subject to the payment of annual renewal fees from the third year after the PCT filing date.
  5. South Africa is a member of the Paris Convention and of the PCT.

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