South Africa: Hope for measures to prevent abuse of the patent system


Tyron Grant

South Africa: Hope for measures to prevent abuse of the patent system

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Government-led schemes to incentivise patents are leading to delays and prejudice against legitimate applicants. Tyron Grant of Spoor and Fisher explains how South Africa is tackling the problem.

The South African Patent Office issued Practice Note 21 of 2023 on April 7, setting out the requirements for expedited acceptance of patent applications. The Practice Note will go some way to curbing the abuse of the non-examination system by applicants who request expedited acceptance and grant of South African patents, for example, in order to leverage governmental rebates and incentives awarded on grant of foreign patents.

In a bid to promote innovation, the governments of some countries offer financial incentives and rebates, based on the number of granted patents obtained by their nationals. The China State Council, in the most recent plan of its National Intellectual Property Strategy, targets 12 invention patents per 10,000 people by 2025 and incentivises nationals to achieve this goal. 

Indian government, through its Patent Facilitation Scheme, also aims to encourage innovation and provide financial support to those who seek to protect their inventions through patents. In some instances, an Indian national can be awarded INR 10 lakh for a granted foreign patent (which is the equivalent of around R200,000 or US $11,000).

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