The registration of patents, designs and trademarks is provided for by statute and is administered by the Patents Office of the Department of Trade and Industry in Pretoria.

A patent may be registered for any product or process involving an inventive step that may be used in trade, industry or agriculture. A step is deemed to be "inventive'' if it did not form part of the state of the art immediately prior to the date of any claim to the invention. Registered patents endure for 20 years, subject to the payment of annual renewal fees commencing after the third year.

New designs may be registered if they have not previously been used in South Africa, registered in South Africa or any other country, or described in any publication. Registration of a design gives protection for five years subject to renewal for two further terms of five years each.

Any person, company, association or other entity using or proposing to use a trademark may apply to register such trademark, service mark, certification mark or container marks. It is not permitted to register any matter that might be associated with the government, that might deceive or cause confusion or offence, or that is contrary to law or morality. Provision is made for the protection of internationally well-known trade marks, even if they have not previously been registered in South Africa.

For further information please contact: 

Werksmans Attorneys 

Werksmans Chambers, 22 Girton Road, Parktown, Johannesburg 2193 
P.O. Box 927, Johannesburg 2000 South Africa

Enquiries:        Mr Charles Butler
Telephone         27 (011) 488-0000
Telefax           27 (011) 484-3100/3200
E-Mail Address