A patent is a set of exclusive rights, granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for detailed public disclosure of an invention. A patent provides protection for the owner, which gives him/her the right to exclude others from making, using, exercising, disposing of the invention, offering to dispose, or importing the invention.
What can be patented?
A patent may, subject to the provisions of this section, be granted for any new invention which involves an inventive step, and which is capable of being used or applied in trade and industry or agriculture. These include inventions such as appliances, mechanical devices etc.
The Patent Act defines the scope of patentable inventions in negative, by specifying what cannot be patented, which includes:
- computer programmes;
- artistic works;
- mathematical methods and other purely mental processes;
- plans, schemes, display of information;
- business methods;
- biological inventions; and
- methods for treatment of humans and animals.
Registering a patent
According to South Africa’s Patent Act, a register must be kept at the patent office, in which the classification of patents must be done according to subject-matter. In this register, the names and addresses of the following persons must be stated:
- the applicants for the patents;
- the grantees of the patents;
- the inventors of the relevant inventions; and
- other particulars (if so prescribed).
Copies of all deeds, agreements, licences and other documents that may affect a patent or the application thereof, must also be recorded in the register.
- Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission | CIPC
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE).