Patent law for beginners

patent law
20 Jul 2022

Once you have conceived or developed an invention, it is time to patent that invention. However, the patenting process can be time consuming and complicated. It is advisable to consult and hire a patent attorney to assist you with the patent registration process.

Even though your patent attorney will have the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to complete the process effectively, it is better for you, the inventor, to understand the basics of the patent registration process. Once you have a basic understanding of patent law, you will be able to better explain your invention and what makes it unique so that you register the correct patent.

This article will act as a brief explanation of patent law for beginners, ensuring you can understand a few of the basic terms and concepts surrounding patents.

Patent law: A definition

Patent law falls under the larger school of law known as intellectual property law, and deals with inventions. It allows inventors to register their new inventions and provide those inventions with protection. This protection provides that no one else can claim the invention as their own, they cannot make use of it, manufacture it, sell it, or import it without permission from the patent holder. This is applicable for as long as the patent is active. A patent typically lasts for 20 years (subject to renewal fees).

Where to register a patent

In South Africa, one must register a patent with the CIPC, also known as the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission. It is essential to ensure that the wording used to describe the invention on the patent application is up to standard. This is because the level of protection received from a patent is determined by this description.

When registering a patent, one must first submit a provisional patent application. After this provisional patent has been submitted, one has twelve months to file a complete patent application.

What can be patented in South Africa?

In order to patent something in South Africa, it must be considered to be an invention that includes an inventive step. The invention must be something that can be applied to or used in agriculture, trade, or industry. Your invention cannot consist of an abstract, non-technical idea, although one is not required to provide a prototype or model to prove that it works.

At Adams & Adams, we have an experienced patent team of qualified attorneys that are also certified, patent agents. To ensure you are in excellent hands, we have also made sure that all of our patent attorneys have a technical (e.g. engineering or science) degree to better understand your needs and your patent.

To find out more about how we at Adams & Adams can help you acquire a patent, contact our offices.

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(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
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