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Since South African national phase patent applications must, upon filing, mirror the patent application on file at WIPO, no amendments are permitted before filing. However, as soon as an official application number has been received, amendments, corrections, assignments and changes of name may be made.


South African patents may be amended either before or after grant.

New matter

Amendments may not add new matter to the specification. As such, amendments are typically limited to the claims.

Fair basis

Amendments to the claims must be "fairly based" on matter in the patent specification (as filed). The South African test for "fair basis" is not very strict ‐ you are not limited to the exact wording used in the Description, and reference may be made to the Drawings.

"Affecting the scope of the claims"

Amendments before grant may broaden the scope of the claims (i.e. you may add and delete words from the claims), whereas amendments after grant may not broaden the scope of the claims (i.e. deletions from the independent claims are not permitted).

A post‐grant amendment must be published and is open to opposition for a period of 2 months.

We suggest amending South African national phase patent claims to conform with granted claims in corresponding US, EP or Australian patents. Although, such amendments typically have the effect of narrowing the scope of the claims (and should be permitted after grant), we prefer to submit the amendment after receiving notice of acceptance of the South African national phase patent (but before publication of acceptance). Generally, there is no need to delay acceptance of the South African national phase patent application.

Our cost to amend a patent is fixed:

  • Pre‐grant amendment: US$350
  • Post‐grant amendment: US$450


South Africa also permits correction of clerical errors in a patent specification. This may be done at any stage. If the correction does not materially affect the scope of the patent (which is generally the case), the correction need not be published.

Our cost to correct clerical errors in a patent is fixed at US$350.

Vetting (optional)

If your patent specification conforms to US, European or Australia patent law, it will likely conform to South African patent law. However, South African patent claims should not refer to: "optionally", "such as" or "preferably". No amendment is required to remove: multi‐dependent claims; reference numerals in claims; or omnibus claims.

If required, we can vet your patent specification for conformity with South African law at a fixed cost of US$250.


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