“Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be asked why not.”
– Pablo Picasso
A patent provides the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the patented invention for the term of the patent. A patent is a limited property right the government gives inventors in exchange for their agreement to share details of their inventions with the public. Like any other property right, it may be sold, licensed, offered as security, or transferred. A patent is usually a right granted to anyone who invents any new, useful, and non-obvious process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter. Similar rights can also apply to industrial designs and plant breeding rights.
Firstly, in order to be patentable in South Africa an invention or new technological development needs to meet the following criteria:
It is important to note that the South African Patent Office will not examine a patent application with regard to this criteria and a patent will be granted when all of the formal requirements have been met. The patent may however subsequently be attacked in a court of law (for example, by a competitor) in terms an allegation that the patent does not meet the patentability requirements.