Intellectual property in South Africa

Adams & Adams

Adams & Adams operates a considerable IP practice and leads the market in South Africa and across the continent. The firm advises some 240 of Fortune 500 companies and has experienced growth in engagements from software companies. It represented Novartis in opposing the registration of the trade mark Curida in class 5 by Cipla Medpro. The team is 'extremely responsive and cost effective', is 'excellent in working with the various countries in this region' and has 'the premier IP practice in South Africa' according to a client.  Russell Bagnall is a market leader in patent litigation, as are Danie Dohmen and Alexis Apostolidis.  Gérard du Plessis is recommended for trade mark litigation, while Simon Brown, who provides 'an outstanding service', and Samantha Copeling, who is 'kind and knowledgeable', are noted for trade mark prosecution. Mariëtte Du Plessis   is 'direct, strategic and patient' and Kelly Thompson and Darren Olivier are also recommended.

Spoor & Fisher

Spoor & Fisher is a longstanding market leader in trade mark and patents across the continent. The firm has made significant progress in anti-counterfeiting work outside of South Africa. It has a wealth of US and European-based clients and is building its standing among Japanese and Korean businesses. Stephen Goldberg and Jean McIvor are key names in the trade mark prosecution space and Charles Webster is a leader in trade mark litigation. Hugh Moubray and Lance Abramson are key players in patent work, while Eben van Wyk has expertise in litigation, advertising and trade mark law among other areas. Carl van Rooyen, Jonathan Whittaker and Tshepo Shabangu are also recommended.


ENSafrica manages the IP portfolios of an increasing number of blue-chip clients, including MTN Group, Hilton Hotels, Bloomberg and Sanlam. It recently advised Hilton Hotels on the strategic protection, maintenance and enforcement of its trade mark portfolio across Africa. Known for its transactional and commercial expertise, the firm has further expanded its pharmaceutical client base and is building its patent credibility. The team is 'prompt and efficient', has 'exceptional depth of knowledge and experience' and 'brings value to discussions'. Gaelyn Scott heads the department, which includes commercial IP specialist Waldo Steyn and patent expert Rowan Forster. Ilse du Plessis heads the trade mark prosecution team.


KISCH IP has an impressive mix of patent and trade mark work and has an especially strong standing in enforcement and Supreme Court of Appeal cases. Anti-counterfeiting is another growth story for the firm, which is building its practice across Africa. Derek Momberg and Andrew Papadopoulos are leaders in trade marks and Julia Stephens is recommended for trade mark prosecution. At van Rooy is a leading patent attorney, along with Jaco TheunissenVanessa Ferguson is 'really experienced in anti-counterfeiting work'.

Von Seidels

Von Seidels is 'innovative, effective and efficient'. It 'really cares about cases and actually seeks to add value'. The group has experienced growth in patent and trade mark work for foreign clients, including Chinese and US businesses, and from engagements from local universities. Patents are its forte, but it is highly credible in trade marks too. Sandra Clelland  is a leader in the biotech field, while Simonne Moodie and Christine Strutt are building the firm's standing in trade marks. Patent specialist Erik van der Vyver 'gives down-to-earth commercially-relevant advice, is extremely responsive and overall is a pleasure to deal with'. Ralf van Niekerk is 'a genuinely nice guy', and Bastiaan Koster and patent litigator Rowan Joseph are also recommended.

Webber Wentzel

Webber Wentzel is known primarily for transactional and commercial IP work, and it is further augmenting its standing in trade mark prosecutions. Building on its existing blue-chip corporate client base, the firm is increasingly working with start-ups and early stage companies. The team advised Ethos Mid-Market Fund on the IP aspects of its acquisition of the Echo Group. Leanne Mostert leads the team, which includes partners Bernadette Versfeld and Lara Brandani.

Bouwers Inc

Bouwers Inc is a small IP boutique that has become a go-to practice for conflict referral work from larger firms. Deon Bouwer is 'a well-respected and experienced trade mark litigator'.

Hahn & Hahn

Hahn & Hahn handles a significant volume of patent filings for foreign clients and is a growing force in trade mark filings, despite its relatively small size. Victor Williams and Janusz Luterek are the key partners.

Moore Attorneys

Moore Attorneys is known for trade marks, is 'very proactive' and 'willing to go the extra mile'. The firm advises an impressive number of household-name South African clients and multinationals. It assists Diageo and Bridgestone with a range of trade mark issues. Shane Moore has a strong reputation.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright fields a small IP team that acts for a sizeable number of multinational clients with IP interests across the continent. The department handles a mix of commercial, portfolio management and contentious work.

Werksmans Attorneys

Werksmans Attorneys acts for an impressive range of South African clients operating across a wide number of industries, including insurance and financial services, media, telecoms and sports. Janine Hollesen leads the practice, which includes Donvay Wegierski, who heads the foreign IP practice. The team acted for Omega Pharma in interdict proceedings against the use and registration of the 3CP mark.