How do I register a patent?

How do I register a patent?


I have a great idea but I don’t want anyone to steal it. How do I register a patent?

A patent is a right granted to an inventor, for a 20 year period, to prevent any others from using, making, exercising, selling, offering for sale and importing the invention. To obtain a valid patent the invention is required to be new, inventive and industrially applicable.

A patent specification is drafted outlining the broadest possible description of the invention and is filed along with the necessary forms and prescribed fees at the South African Patents Office, the filing date being the date of priority.

The priority period lasts for 12 months from the priority date within which the applicant can seek enforceable protection in South Africa or in various foreign territories, claiming priority from the first filed application.

You will find more information about registering a patent here.


Vicky Stilwell
Vicky Stilwell – director at ENS (Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs) Vicky Stilwell currently practises as an attorney in the intellectual property department. She is a qualified trade mark practitioner. Stilwell specialises in trade mark and copyright matters, including trade mark searching, brand selection and implementation strategy, filing and prosecution of trade mark applications, trade mark maintenance, assignments and formalities and brand portfolio management. She also specialises in commercial intellectual property and intellectual property licensing matters including conducting intellectual property due diligence investigations and advising on and drafting commercial intellectual property agreements and licence agreements. She has advised a diverse range of clients from the fast moving consumer goods, banking, printing and publishing, advertising, automobile and transport sectors.