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 organisations do exist which
cover patent protection in more than one country, for example,
ARIPO, the Eurasian Patent Office, the European Patent Office,
the Gulf Co-operation Countries, and OAPI.
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.
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
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.
PCT (Patent Co-operation Treaty) is a route to obtaining
the grant of separate (national) patents in 148 countries
(as of 4 October 2013), including South Africa. A single
PCT application is filed, designating the countries envisaged
at that stage for protection. A key advantage of this route
is that costs are contained at this stage to between about
R 25 000.00 and R 35 000.00, for an invention of average
complexity, for the preparation and filing of the PCT application
if filed in the name of a private individual who is a national
of South Africa or more than one such individual. If even
one of the applicants is not a private individual who is
a national of South Africa then extra costs of about R 10
000.00 can be expected.
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 with in the individual PCT contracting states.
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 private
individual who are nationals of South Africa. If even one
of the applicants is not a private individual who is a national
of South Africa then extra costs of about R 10 000.00 can
be expected. The costs of arguing and/or amending the application
in light of the Examiner's objections are typically between
about R5 000.00 and R10 000.00 if the matter is of simple
to average complexity.
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
more information on the individual countries, please select
an appropriate country from the pull-down "Select a region"
list at the top left hand side of this page or return to
our home page and select a country using the interactive
map of the world.