South African Official Fees for Patents and Designs to Increase
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The South African Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) has announced a proposed increase in the official fees for patents and designs. We are waiting for clarity on the exact date of the fee increase but it is currently expected to occur on 1 October 2019.
A new distinction between corporate entities and small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) will be created. While the fees for SMMEs are very similar to the existing fees, for corporate entities the fees for new applications and renewals are significantly increased.
The most significant fee adjustments are as follows:
||Existing Fee (ZAR1)
||New SMME Fee (ZAR1)
||New Corporate Fee (ZAR1)
|Annual patent renewal (from third year onwards)
|Annual design renewal (from third year onwards)
1 USD 1 = ZAR 14,60 at current exchange rates
2 Average amount. The current actual amount varies slightly per year
A corporate entity is one that does not qualify as a small, medium or micro enterprise (SMME) in terms of the National Small Business Amendment Act. While we expect further clarification on the issue in due course, as things stand in order to qualify as an SMME the entity must, together with its branches or subsidiaries have: i) fewer than 100 employees (up to 200 in some industry sectors), ii) a turnover less than an amount that varies between ZAR 4 million and ZAR 50 million depending on the sector, and iii) total gross assets excluding fixed property less than an amount that varies between ZAR 2 million and ZAR 18 million depending on the sector.
Other official fees will increase by 5% with no distinction made between SMME and corporate entity fees. Future 5% annual increases in all official fees are also proposed.
To pay fees at the SMME level, a new Declaration of Entity Status Form P27 for patents and Form D19 for designs have been created. To claim the SMME rate, the form must be lodged on application or payment of renewal fee, once per application. If no Declaration of Entity Status is submitted, the application or renewal will be billed at the corporate rate.
We expect that most patent and design applicants, including universities, will be considered corporate entities.
In South Africa it is possible to bulk-pay renewal fees for the entire life of the patent or design. This can also be done while the application is still pending.
South African patent and design proprietors may therefore wish to bulk-pay all remaining renewal fees for the life of the relevant patents or designs before the new fees become effective.
Please contact us or your usual Von Seidels contact should you be interested in this option.