The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international patent law treaty, concluded in 1970.
“An invention is something that was impossible up to then ― that’s why governments grant patents.” ― Robert A. Heinlein
PCT National Phase Patent Applications
The deadline for filing a convention patent application in South Africa is 12 months from the earliest priority date. This period is extendable by an additional 3 months (i.e. up to 15 months from the priority date) upon application to the Registrar of Patents and upon payment of an additional fee.
The following minimum requirements must be met to secure a valid filing date in respect of a convention patent application:
Full name(s) and registered address(es) of each applicant
Full name(s) and residential address(es) of each inventor
Title of the invention
Priority application number(s), country and date(s)
The following additional documents are required to complete the filing requirements of a convention patent application:
Within 14 days of the national filing date
i. Complete patent specification, claims and drawings.
Within 3 months of the national filing date
ii. English translation of the complete patent specification, claims and drawings, if the application was not filed in English.
Within 6 months of the national filing date (this period is extendable upon application to the Registrar)
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 filing date)
iii. Form P3*, Declaration and Power of Attorney – signed by the applicant.
iv. Form P26*, Statement on the use of indigenous biological resource, genetic resource, traditional knowledge or use – signed by the applicant.
v. A certified copy of each priority document. If the priority document is not in English, a certified English translation is required.
vi. Assignment of Invention* –signed by each inventor who is not an applicant.
vii. Abstract of the invention.
viii. Assignment of Priority Rights*, if the applicant is not the applicant in respect of the priority application
* No legalization of formal documents is required
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.
There is no provision for opposition to the registration of a patent application.
No excess claim fees, page fees or grant fees are payable in South Africa.
Patents in South Africa have a maximum duration of 20 years from the national filing date, subject to the payment of annual renewal fees from the third year after the national filing date.
South Africa is a member of the Paris Convention and of the PCT.
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