South African patent rights too easy to obtain (apparently)…….

19 07 2011

Having stumbled across a well-written  article regarding the quality of the South African patent system I must admit that I agree with some of the views of Anastassios Pouris and Anthipi Pouris. In particular, that having South African patent applications examined for novelty and inventive step before granting them will do much to improve the quality and enforceability of patents in South Africa as well as improving the view that developed countries have of the South African patenting system…

Unfortunately, I also happened upon some erroneous information in this article which reads as follows:

“But in South Africa, all searches at Cipro are “carried out by hand (if at all)…through a card-based system”.

This would not be the case any longer. There are currently two ways in which you can access information regarding South African Patent filings online.

The first is through the World Intellectual Property Organization website which enables you to (amongst other things) search for patents filed in South Africa and the second is through the website of the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission or CIPC (as it is now known) (unfortunately, the help of an active account is needed for this one)….

To be fair, the above does still fall short of the level of disclosure and accessibility provided to granted patents in other countries and given that the disclosure of the invention is the “payback” the inventor gives to society in return for which he gets a monopoly right for 20 years, I can see their point….