What is a Patent?

Published Date: April 22, 2020

There is a common confusion amongst people regarding the difference between a patent and a trade mark. A trade mark typically includes designs, logos, phrases, slogans and names. Patents, however, provide protection for inventions which includes new products, methods, processes, or compositions.

A patented item may not be duplicated, made/manufactured or sold without prior consent or permission from the patent owner. A patent legally ensures that novel inventions are kept safe from theft.

Patent Examples

Patented inventions are governed by Section 25 of the Patent Act, Act 57 of 1978.  In order to qualify for a patent, the invention must meet the following requirements:

  • Novel,
  • Invention, and
  • Useful or industrially applicable.

Examples of things that may be patented include

  • Processes: Processes can be anything from software, to a method from which a result is derived. For example, a car company may patent their assembly line, which protects their manufacturing process. A restaurant chain may patent their methods to produce the food that makes them different from other restaurants.
  • Products or things: A novel apparatus or device can be patented. These could include mechanical apparatus, computer or high-tech devices, automotive, general, etc.  It will generally be something which is tangible or can be touched.  Can go hand-in-hand with a process.
  • Compositions: can include a pharmaceutical composition or a chemical or industrial formula, or an inventive food recipe.

How to Apply for a Patent

The most effective and efficient way to register for a patent is to speak to a patent attorney first. They will listen to your needs and guide you through the application process so that it runs as smoothly as possible. Once completed, they will be able to assist with patent registration and ensure the legal enforcement of your patent thereafter. They can also assist with patent renewal when it becomes time to do so.

Finding a Patent Attorney

The Adams & Adams patent attorneys are all qualified attorneys and patent agents. We can render a full range of patent legal services in a wide variety of technical fields such as biotechnology, chemical engineering, chemistry and pharmaceuticals, electrical and electronic engineering, mechanical engineering, plastics and polymer technology, computer technology and civil engineering. Contact us for advice and assistance or download our online brochure for more information.

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