Answers to frequently asked questions about Intellectual Property have been compiled on this page.

Q: How can I achieve the objectives of publishing and patenting?

A: It's all about managing the timing! Contact RC&I as soon as you realise that you have discovered a new invention. It is important that secrecy is maintained until a provisional patent (at least) is in place. One of the key requirements for patent protection internationally is novelty and this means that an invention cannot have been disclosed publicly, e.g. during an interview, at a conference in an oral presentation, at meetings with people external to UCT, or in articles. RC&I will work with an inventor to ensure that the necessary IP protection is in place prior to the publication or conference date. Although not ideal, a provisional patent can be put in place within a few days.

Ideally secrecy should be maintained throughout the twelve months that the provisional application is in place, prior to filing a full patent application. This will allow you to add in more information ahead of filing the full patent application enabling you to put a stronger patent in place. If public disclosure occurs during the period in which the provisional is in place, one will only be allowed to include details disclosed at the time of filing the provisional in the full patent application.