FOREIGN PATENTS AND THE PCT
The popular term “worldwide patent” is based on a fallacy. “Worldwide patents” do not exist. In general, separate protection must be applied for in each country individually. However, a handful of regional patent
The first step (for our South African clients) to obtaining patent protection in several countries is normally the filing of a provisional patent application at the South African Patent Office. Please click on the title “South African Patent” for more information, in this respect.
Thereafter, within 12 months of the filing of such South African provisional patent application, you will need to file a complete patent application in each country of the world in which you require protection (including South Africa) so as to claim the earlier priority date of your South African provisional patent application under the International Patent Convention (also referred to as the Paris Convention). Most important countries are members of this convention. However, it is important to notify us at your very first contact with us of the countries in which you wish to obtain patent protection as patent applications should be filed in all countries which are not members of the Paris Convention before your invention is disclosed to the public and, preferably, as soon as possible. Please click on the title “Paris Convention Countries” for a list of Paris Convention members.
It is important to note at this stage that many countries are members of the PCT (Patent Co-operation Treaty) and instead of filing separate Paris Convention applications for these countries a single PCT application is normally recommended before the conclusion of the 12 month Convention period. Please click on the title “PCT Member Countries” for a list of PCT members.
The PCT Route
The PCT (Patent Co-operation Treaty) is a route to obtaining the grant of separate (national)
The PCT route includes, at no extra charge, an international search by an International Searching Authority, typically the Austrian Patent Office. This will give a good indication of the patentability of the invention before patenting is proceeded
By requesting an international examination, the applicant will be afforded the opportunity to argue and/or amend the application in light of the Examiner’s objections with a view to obtaining a clear preliminary examination report. The costs of requesting such international examination are about R 15 000.00 (at current exchange rates) if all the applicants are
Before expiry of a 30 month period from the earliest priority date (normally the date of filing of the South African provisional patent application, as described above), separate national or regional patent application(s) must be filed at the usual fee levels.
For more information on the individual countries, please select an appropriate country from the pull-down “Select a region” list at the top