All South African patents to be digitalized

The Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (CIPRO) has announced that all South African patents will soon be available on the website of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) under “National Collections”.

The South African patent collection for the period 1988 to 2008 is now being uploaded on a test environment at WIPO and it is expected to be operational in September this year.

“This means South African patents will no longer be confined to South African borders,” said Keith Sendwe, CEO of CIPRO. “We are just as proud of any registered patents as our entrepreneurs and are therefore delighted that scanned images of these patents will soon be available worldwide. CIPRO is convinced that anybody who logs onto the WIPO database will be impressed by the creative and viable patents that have been registered with CIPRO over the last few years.”

As part of a cooperation agreement with WIPO, CIPRO has undertaken to supply scanned images of South African patents to WIPO. In return WIPO will perform an Optical Character Recognition (OCR), index the bibliographic information and make the South African patent collection available on their electronic patent search facility “PatentScope”.

The project consists of three phases defined by time periods. Phase one included the digitalising of all granted patents in force from 1988 to 2008. During phase two the patents for the period 1961 to 1987 will be digitalised, after which all the remaining patents before 1961 will be scanned as part of phase three.

“We are currently in the process of scanning all South African granted patents according to WIPO standards and as indicated in the phases. These scanned images will be published on the CIPRO and WIPO websites in terms of the agreement between CIPRO, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO),” added Sendwe.

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All South African patents to be digitalized