March 1, 2012
Biotechnological Patents, Chemical Sciences Patents, Diagnostics Patents, Genetic Engineering Patents, Inventions, Medical Sciences Patents, Microbiological Sciences Patents, Patents
Smit & Van Wyk, Inc. is an intellectual property law firm that specialize in obtaining and protecting your patent and design rights. Our focus is to provide legal services for intellectual property throughout Africa. We assist overseas agents and individual applicants with patent searches, patent filings, patent renewals and prosecution of patent infringement cases. Smit & Van Wyk, Inc. also provide legal advice on commercial rights attached to patents and designs.
Intellectual property is treated as business assets on the balance sheet and has a monetary value associated with it. It is most likely that your business has already generated intellectual property of value through the creativity of the individuals in the business. Once the intellectual property of a business has been identified, it is possible to protect it by means of registered, unregistered, contractual agreements or non-statutory forms of protection.
Smit & Van Wyk, Inc. patent services for inventions from the following fields Biotechnology, Business Methods, Electrical, Electronic, Mechanical, Mining, Nanotechnology and Software.
- Patent applications, filings and registrations
- Patent novelty search
- Patent maintenance and renewals
- Patent licensing
The Smit & Van Wyk, Inc. head office is located in Pretoria, South Africa providing our international and local clients with patent and design services in most countries on the African continent.
012 349 7800
August 30, 2011
Biotechnological Patents, Chemical Sciences Patents, Medical Sciences Patents
Science Patent Application
A science patent can be awarded if the requirements for patentability have been met. The following cannot qualify for patentability and as such cannot be registered as science patents:
- Mathematical formulas and scientific theories.
- Information presentations.
- Metabolism of organisms.
- Discoveries of natural phenomena.
- Methods for doing business.
- Methods for performing mental acts.
- Rules for playing games.
- Computer programs.
- Biological processes.
- Medical methods for treatment of humans & animals such as therapies or surgeries.
It is possible to register a science patent in the field of bio-technology or engineering for non-living entities such as DNA, promoters, antibodies present in organisms, vectors and plasmids as well as polypeptides.
One can also register a science patent for living entities in the case of genetically modified plant, organism and animal cultures subject to meeting specific requirements.
It should be noted that genes and various forms of such are still debated and it is recommended that you approach an intellectual property attorney to help you register a science patent in the bio-technology field as it is a rather complicated process.
Our experienced patent attorneys can assist not only with registration of a science patent, but also with legal advice regarding the patentability of matter in this field.
For the filing of a science patent it is also recommended that you file a provisional application as soon as possible to ensure priority date. The patent applications involve detailed descriptions of the inventions, drawings and claims in the case of permanent patent applications.
You will have 12 months from filing the provisional application to file the complete science patent application. During the 12 month period you can further develop such and get a chance to complete the claims.
Contact us at Smit & Van Wyk for expert legal advice and assistance in filing a science patent in South Africa and abroad
August 29, 2011
In South Africa two types of patent registrations can be made:
- Complete Specification
A provisional patent application can be lodged without the assistance of an intellectual property attorney.
If you have developed an invention, but still need to modify it or improve it, you can get protection against copying, usage, distribution and commercial exploitation thereof by other parties by filing the provisional application.
It will award you a period of 12 months protection. For it to stay valid, you need to file the complete specification application within 12 months with the South African Patents Office.
The benefits of first filing a provisional application are:
- It gives you the opportunity to further develop the invention ensuring that it will be protected during the development stage.
- You can test the marketability of the invention during the 12 month period.
- It also affords you the opportunity to get finance for which you will need to disclose information to other parties. You can disclose the information because the parties will not be able to decline assistance and then develop the invention.
- It is cheaper than the complete specification application.
- The provisional application is not as comprehensive as the complete specification application.
- You get the earliest possible filing date which will be important should a dispute arise about the priority of patent applications.
Complete Specification Patent Registrations
As stated earlier, you must file the complete specification within 12 months from initial application. You can file for such directly if you are happy with the invention and are sure that it is marketable. For this step you must make use of an intellectual property attorney.
The invention must meet the requirements for patentability including that of absolute novelty, inventive step, and not being obvious to someone skilled in the trade as well as originality and usefulness in industry, agriculture or commerce.
Contact us at Smit & Van Wyk Attorneys for assistance regarding patent registrations in South Africa and abroad.
August 25, 2011
Patent owners are the exclusive rights holders for specific inventions. They receive the rights in return for full public disclosure about their inventions. As such patents are exclusive rights granted rather than rights to making or using of an invention.
Patent owners can assign their patent rights to other parties. In effect this implies transferring of the rights from the patent owner to another party.
Patents have the save attributes as personal property and as such can thus be sold to interest parties. The assignment must be recorded also in the Patent Office.
Entire ownership or a percentage of the ownership is transferred from the patent owner to the purchaser. The transfer must include all the rights which go with patent ownership such as the title and interest.
The patent right owners can furthermore award license rights to other parties. In this case the rights and ownership are retained while usage, marketing, distribution, making and selling rights can be awarded by means of a license agreement.
This may also for instance, include import rights. The party that obtains such rights is called the licensee whereas the patent owner awarding such rights by means of a licensing agreement is called the licensor.
There are specific obligations on the part of the licensee such as operation within the stipulated boundaries.
Patent owners can grant exclusive licenses to parties, meaning that the patent owner may then not compete with the licensee in a particular region and for a specific time and usage as stipulated in the license agreement between the parties.
There can be one or more patent rights owners for the same patent. Multiple patent owners can have interests in the same invention when they have worked together in the creation of the invention.
Contact us at Smit & Van Wyk Patent Attorneys for assistance in the registration, assignment, and licensing of patent rights.
Additional Articles & Information
August 8, 2011
Biotechnological Patents, Chemical Sciences Patents, Diagnostics Patents, Genetic Engineering Patents, Medical Sciences Patents, Microbiological Sciences Patents
The biotechnological patent will afford patent monopolies to inventors who have invested in new or better solutions to existing problems.
The patent system stimulates innovation, as competitors advance the field. Biotech patents have been instrumental in fostering advances in technology.
All inventions must be novel, inventive and useful in order to be eligible for patent protection.
Biotechnological or life sciences inventions are no exception and it is the manner in which these requirements are addressed that can curb or extend the biotech patent protection you acquire.
Certain sections of the patent legislation deal specifically with inventions relating to biological processes.
Only inventions and not discoveries are eligible for biotech patent protection. (an invention goes further than a discovery, as it provides a practical application of the discovery.)
Isolated DNA sequences and other metabolites are usually viewed in patent terms as chemical compounds, much like a new organic drug molecule.
The unique sequence of the nucleotides or amino acids that you have uncovered constitutes a novel biological molecule and may thus be patentable.
Vectors containing your nucleotide sequence and cells containing the vector / DNA may also be patented, provided they are new.
The South African patent law provides specifically for the patenting of microbiological processes.This includes genetically modified organisms.
New microbes that you have isolated, purified and cultured are generally considered patentable, provided they can fulfill the usefulness patent requirements.
Primers used for diagnostic purposes and kits containing such primers may be protected by way of patents.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms and expressed sequence tags may under certain strict conditions be considered patentable and of use in diagnostics.
Novel antigens and receptors that you have located may also be protected by way of a patent, provided you have ascribed a function to them.
Novel monoclonal antibodies and immunological tests, such as ELISA tests, using novel antibodies are also worthy of biotechnological patent protection.
Pharmaceutical & Chemical Sciences Patents
Novel purified chemical or pharmaceutical compounds are patentable, as well as their pharmaceutically acceptable isomers and salts.
Crude extracts in which a compound is enriched may also be patentable, depending on the level of enrichment relative to the natural, unfractionated state. Importantly, novel pharmaceutical carriers may also be patented.
Patent protection may also be obtained for pharmaceutical compositions containing your novel pharmaceutical compound.
Medical Sciences Patents
Due to the medical patent restriction on methods of treatment, diagnosis or surgery, surgical techniques are specifically excluded from patent protection in these regions.
Instruments for use in surgery, diagnosis or therapy may be patented.
Plant & Animal Sciences Patents
You cannot obtain biotechnological patent protection for plant or animal varieties, or essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals.
It appears from the European Biotech Directive and the UK Patent Office practice manual that patent claims to genetically modified plants are allowable in a biotechnological patent application.
Should you have originated a new plant variety by conventional breeding, this may be protected by way of a Plant Breeders’ Rights application in South Africa, and not a patent.
Biotech patent claims to animals obtained by traditional breeding methods are not allowable at most Patent Offices, but a genetically modified animal is considered patentable in the UK, Europe and USA.
There is currently no equivalent in the animal sciences field to the protection offered by Plant Breeders’ Rights.