Dedication and hard work pays dividends for Chemistry’s Dr Gumede

Dr Njabulo Gumede
Dr Njabulo Gumede

Hard work has borne fruit for the industrious Dr Njabulo Gumede, a lecturer in the Department of Chemistry. Dr Gumede has been awarded by the National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO) for the two patents they lodged in the past four years.

“We started with one provisional patent in 2015. Then in 2016 we lodged a Patent Cooperative Treaty (PCT). This patent was protected globally during that time and was lodged in the Australian International patent office,” said Dr Gumede. He added that they modified the patent as per request from the international office.  “The international patent office examined the patent and requested that we separate the patent into two because eight of the compounds have different chemical scaffolds while the other five compounds share a similar scaffold.” They revised the patent and divided it into two patents with different claims. They then submitted the patents.

The International Search Report (ISR), together with the Written Opinions (WO) rendered the claims as innovative, inventive and with industrial applicability. Dr Gumede said there were some claims that the international patent office found not to be innovative but with industrial applicability. The two PCTs were published by the international patent office in April 2017. In 2018, the two PCTs were lodged in the national phases in South Africa, the United States, the European Union and Canada. The patents will be granted in these different due restrictions in 2020/21.  Ending his glorious story with great excitement, Dr Gumede said: “The NIPMO and DST are now acknowledging and rewarding our efforts as we have reached a milestone that was not reached before. It is rare for a first patent to be rendered as innovative, inventive and with industrial applicability in due restrictions with stringent protocols like the US and the EU regions.”

NIPMO was established as a Specialised Service Delivery Unit (SSDU) with effect from 13 December 2013.  NIPMO relies on the Department of Science and Technology for all support services.

The award did not go unnoticed. Writing to Dr Anette Mienie, Director of Research at MUT, Vishen Pillay, a partner at Adams & Adams congratulated the University for receiving the award. “On behalf of the partners at Adams & Adams, I’d like to congratulate your institution as well as your office on being recognised as having produced and supported some of the Top Intellectual Property Creators which were celebrated at the recent IP Creator’s Dinner hosted by the Department of Science and Technology and NIPMO,” said Pillay. 

“Your institution’s as well as your office’s outstanding contribution to innovation in this country has not gone unnoticed and we commend your support to solving some of South Africa’s economic and social challenges through innovation.”​