South Africa – Anticipated Increase in Official Fees for Patents and Designs

The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) has indicated that official fees for South African patents and designs are to be increased within the next few months. In addition, in future a distinction will be drawn between small and large entities, insofar as filing and renewal fees are concerned.

At this stage, no official announcement has been made, but we expect that the fee increase will be effective as from 1 July 2019. Our understanding as that the official fees for patent & design applications, and for corresponding renewals, will increase significantly insofar as large entities are concerned. In addition, a general 5% increase will be applied to all other official fees, and provision is to be made for a regular annual increase of 5% going forward.

The anticipated revised official fees for applications and renewals are set out below. These are subject to confirmation once the changes have been officially announced.

The proposed definition of a small entity is complex and is based on the definition of a “small enterprise” as contained in the National Small Enterprise Act, No. 102 of 1996, as amended (see here for details). In many instances it may be difficult to ascertain readily whether an applicant or patentee qualifies as a small entity. We are of the view (at this stage at any rate) that it may be preferable to pay official fees at the large entity rate unless one is absolutely certain that the patentee qualifies for the lower rate.

Furthermore, our understanding is that applicants claiming small entity status will be required to lodge a prescribed declaration attesting to the fact that they qualify for the reduced rates, at the time an application is filed (or possibly within a few months of filing). Similarly, owners renewing and wishing to take advantage of the small entity reductions will likewise be obliged to lodge a declaration attesting to the fact that they comply with the requirement for small entity status, at the time of making a renewal payment. If no such declaration is lodged, large entity rates will apply.

Our recommendation is that owners (other than individuals) of patents and design registrations that fall due for renewal after 1 July 2019 consider renewing prior to this date, if possible. A further alternative is to consider renewing the relevant patents and design registrations to term. Should you require further information in this regard, please contact P.Renewals@spoor.com for a cost estimate.

We will keep you apprised of developments in this regard.

Date published: 2 April 2019
Author: Spoor & Fisher

Tags: companies and intellectual property commission cipc official fees patents designs