Intellectual property in South Africa

Adams & Adams

Adams & Adams  maintains its market-leading position in South Africa, providing high quality and cost-effective services to clients. It has expanded its practice by opening associate offices across other jurisdictions in Africa which offer a full range of IP services. Clients benefit from Adams. Africa Advisory which provides a range of intelligence briefings and specialised research consultations. Mariëtte Du Plessis is a leading figure with vast experience in trademark litigation. Godfrey Budeli heads the anti-counterfeiting team and Nolwazi Gcaba leads the trademark renewal section. Russell Bagnall  is the head of the patent and design litigation group. Kelly Thompson  became the first female chairperson of Adams & Adams. Darren Olivier is a senior practitioner.

Practice head(s):

Nicky Garnett; Dario Tanziani; Nolwazi Gcaba; Nishan Singh; Godfrey Budeli; Russell Bagnall

Other key lawyers:

Mariëtte du Plessis; Kelly Thompson; Janice Galvad; Steven Yeates; Gerard du Plessis; Eugene Honey; Darren Olivier


‘Adams & Adams IP team strongly focus on the client’s needs.’

‘Response times when seeking advice is excellent and the quality of advice assists in avoiding risks and potential litigation.’

‘They are always willing to structure billing in an affordable way and meet all of our internal administrative requirements.’

‘The offering of IP on-line enables me to access all relevant information to my organisation’s IP records in the required format.’

‘They are always willing to assist and build strong relationships with their clients, understand our business and point out possible risks for our company.’

‘They are knowledgeable, available and reliable.’

‘Very professional and have a wealth of knowledge. They are never too busy to assist in providing clarity on matters and always willing to go the extra mile’

‘Mariette Du Plessis is a devoted and enthusiastic partner to us. She knows and cares about our company and business, and is proactive in recommending new strategies and following up with us to ensure that we are protecting our trademark rights to the fullest extent.’

Key clients

Click Sales Inc

Tw Racing Parts Inc

Macmillan Education Limited

Swarm Technologies Inc

Tcl Technology Group Corporation

Bega Cheese Limited

Buccara Gmbh & Co. Kg

JS Ip Holdings Scs

Toker Engineering Llc

Personnel Hygiene Services Limited

Polynt Composites France

Kapital Investment Group B.V.

Alco Exotic Green Building Products Cc

Naver Webtoon Ltd

Counter Coffee Llc

Fujikura Diesel Co Ltd

Sitc Logistics Development Company Limited

Salmon Evolution As

Co-Flo Enterprise B.V.

Petrolin SA

Work highlights

  • Acted for Beiersdorf and instituted passing-off proceedings in the High Court against Koni Multinational Brands (Pty) Limited on the basis that it replicated various elements of Beiersdorf’s current and earlier get-ups in respect of Koni’s Men Shower Range.
  • Acted for the opponent, Colgate-Palmolive Company, in a formal opposition against the GOODDOCTOR (stylised) mark in class 21, which was successful.
  • Acted for Maxe, the registered design proprietor against Artav Stainless Steel in respect of a number of South African registered designs for nudge and sports bars for motor vehicles.

Spoor & Fisher

Spoor & Fisher specialises in intellectual property and has strong knowledge of trademarks, copyright and anti-counterfeiting. It is active across Africa, through local offices and trusted agents, allowing it to be involved in cross-border IP cases for high-profile clients. Mohamed Khader heads the sizable anti-counterfeiting team and the experienced Hugh Moubray leads the patent litigation department. Eben van Wyk and Megan Reimers are leading trademark attorneys and Dina Biagio is a key patent attorney. Carl van Rooyen and Charles Webster are other names to note on the trademark side.

Practice head(s):

Marco van der Merwe; Shanaaz Mahomed; Mohamed Khader

Other key lawyers:

Hugh Moubray; Eben van Wyk; Megan Reimers; Dina Biagio; Charles Webster; Stephen Goldberg; Kay Rickleman; Carl van Rooyen


‘Spoor and Fisher are the ‘go to’ firm in South Africa. The are reliable and seen as a ‘safe pair of hands’ in this geography.’

‘They have an unrivalled depth of expertise in intellectual property law such as expertise in plant varieties for example.’

‘The team has vast experience in IP matters. They meet our members’ expectation with professionalism and are capable of solutions.’

‘Their physical and efficient presence in other countries apart from South Africa make them a privilege option to the companies’

‘Professionalism, availability, fast responding and problem solvers’

‘Hugh Moubray is an excellent IP litigator with decades of experience’

‘They are always willing to help and are knowledgeable.’

‘Dina Biagio is excellent and thorough in supporting negotiation and conclusion of a range of IP commercialisation agreements, as well as conducting due diligence and opinions on ownership and key arrangements.’

Key clients

Anglo Corporate Services South Africa (Pty) Limited

Brand Quantum International (Pty) Limited

Distell Ltd

De Wetshof Estate (Wine Estate)

Guangzhou Wang Lao Ji Great Health Industry Co., Ltd

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare South Africa (Pty) Ltd

My Light Holdings (Pty) Ltd t/a Shimansky

Nelson Mandela University (“NMU”)


The Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne (CIVC) of Épernay

The United States Polo Association

Tiger Food Brands Intellectual Property Holding Company (Pty) Ltd (“Tiger Brands”)

Work highlights

  • Acted for The United States Polo Association and Stable Brands (Pty) Ltd. in opposing an urgent application for an interdict based on trademark infringement which was brought by LA Group (Pty) Ltd.
  • Assisted Distell Ltd in approaching the Advertising Regulatory Board with a complaint against SAB’s product packaging for its Brutal Fruit Sparkling Ruby Apple Spritzer.


ENSafrica has a full service IP offering, advising on an array of contentious and non-contentious matters from trademarks to patents and registered designs. The team is well known for its transactional and advisory services in commercial IP concerning assets, company structuring and tax, which dovetails with the firm’s growing presence in the pharmaceutical and life science sectors where it also offers pre-clearance searches. Gaelyn Scott heads the IP department, specialising in strategic brand and portfolio management. Ilse du Plessis jointly heads the trademark prosecution department with Rowan Forster and Waldo Steyn leads the commercial IP team. Joanne van Harmelen is an experienced patent attorney with a specific focus on biotechnology and life sciences.

Practice head(s):

Gaelyn Scott

Other key lawyers:

Ilse du Plessis; Rowan Forster; Waldo Steyn; Joanne Van Harmelen


‘ENS Africa is an excellent team of IP attorneys based in South Africa and covering all African countries.’

‘The firm acts as a one stop shop for the entire African continent.’ T

‘Gaelyn Scott’s forte is handling complex contentious matters and she excels at her job.’

‘Their personal interest and willingness to understand our business is what sets the individuals that we work with apart from the competition. Their expertise is also another quality that is highly valued.’

‘We have been using ENS Africa as a one-stop shop for trademark matters in a number of African jurisdictions, and we are impressed with the responsiveness and diligence in their communication and coordination, also in large-scale projects.’

‘This is a winning team in South Africa. They are our go-to firm for IP work in the region.’

‘Rowan Forster stands out in the firm. With his broad range of knowledge and experience in IP matters in addition to his commercial acumen, he is a force to be reckoned with in the African region.’

Key clients

3G Direct

A&I Services Incorporated


Advanta Holdings B.V.

Affinity Africa Finance Limited

African Rainbow Minerals

AFS Agtech Private Ltd

Alkaloid AD Skopje

Anne F Grobler (Pty) Ltd


Arysta Lifescience


Avitas Holdings (Pty) Ltd

Azargen Biotechnologies (Pty) Ltd


Beier Industries

Bidvest Group

Biomek (Pty) Ltd


Cape Biologix Technologies (Pty) Ltd

Central University of Technology

Christian Laboutin

Conde Nast / Advance Magazine Publishers


Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)

Cricket South Africa

DE Robillard Kajee (Pty) Ltd

DH Brothers Industries


Don’t Waste Group

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories

Elisana S.A.R.L

Ernie ELS Vineyards (Pty) Ltd

Ferrero Rocher Group

First Rand Bank


Freddy Hirsch

Future Life Health Products (Pty) Ltd

Genlab (Pty) Ltd

Grindrod Ltd

Gurtech (Pty) Ltd

Hilton Hotels

Hollard Insurance Group

Hollywood Sportsbook


Imana Foods (SA) (Pty) Ltd

Innocircle (Pty) Ltd

In-N-Out Burger

Investec Bank

Italtile Ltd

Laboratoires Goemar


Lifezone Ltd

Mazoyi Mixtures (Pty) Ltd

Mediacom South Africa (Pty) Ltd

Micore Solutions Pty Ltd

MilkX (Pty) Ltd

Momentum Metropolitan

Motion Icon (Pty) Ltd

MTN Group



Ninety One

Noko Milling (Pty) Ltd

Omnia Holdings

Onespark (Pty) Ltd

Pallinghurst Resources

Progressive Tech Holding

Rallis India Ltd

RAM Transport

Rand York Castings (Pty) Ltd

Remgro Group

Ritz Hotels

RSI North America Inc.





Save Wholesalers Cash & Carry CC

Sawubona Mycelium (Pty) Ltd

Seal Chemistry (Pty) Ltd


Sensible Health (Pty) Ltd

South African Airways

South African Reserve Bank

Starbucks Corporation

Sustnet (Pty) Ltd

Swatch Group

Tata Group


Teva Biomet

the Duke of Wellington

Thomas Cooke

Tiger Brands

Tongaat Developments


Trellicor (Pty) Ltd



United Phosphorus Ltd

UPL South Africa (Pty) Ltd

USG Corporation

Viasat, Inc



Wave Innovate

Yellowwoods Administration Services Luxembourg SARL

Work highlights

  • Advised the only South African company with a truly open and integrated emergency response platform on a wide range of intellectual property-related matters in a cross-jurisdictional structure as part of a process to successfully close a further round of funding.
  • Advised a South African pharmaceutical conglomerate on launch strategies for important generic pharmaceutical products into the South African market and successfully negotiated positive outcomes with innovator drug patent holders.
  • Advised a British multinational consumer goods company on its sponsorship arrangement for a famous brand as a major sponsor for the British and Irish Lions rugby tour to South Africa 2021.

Von Seidels

Von Seidels is a boutique IP firm with vast local knowledge and understanding of country-specific legislative requirements, regulations and practical issues. Expansion has been a key focus for the firm as it opened new offices in Cameroon and Nigeria. It is renowned for its technical expertise in biotechnology, chemistry, chemical engineering and pharmaceuticals. Erik Van Der Vyver heads the patent department while Claire Brown  leads the trademark team. Vanessa Ferguson is a specialist in anti-counterfeiting and is a trademark attorney with experience in cross-border pan-African IP enforcement. Bastiaan Koster, Rowan Joseph and Ralph van Niekerk are reputable figures in the patents field. Simonne Moodie is a reputable trademark attorney.

Practice head(s):

Erik van der Vyver; Claire Brown

Other key lawyers:

Baastian Koster; Vanessa Ferguson; Rowan Joseph; Ralph van Niekerk; Christine Strutt; Sandra Clelland; Simonne Moodie; Gunther Roland; Stephen Middleton


‘The firm provides services throughout Africa, which makes work very easy for us. Good responsiveness.’

‘I like to work with Gunter Roland, Ralph Niekerk, Christine Strutt’

‘In my view, this IP firm provides the highest quality in South Africa and other African countries.’

‘They are really interested in providing excellent work for the client.’

‘The partners are always personally available for questions and discussions.’

‘The patent attorneys have a profound technical background and always try to reach the best result for the clients. Collaborating with them is a pleasure.’

‘Rowan Joseph, Ralph van Niekerk, Simonne Moodie, Sandra Clelland and Stephen Middleton: All of them always provide excellent work. There was not a single case that went bad. They are very responsive, open-minded to ideas of others and reliable.’

Key clients

Channel VAS

Stellenbosch University

Rivian Automotive


The Jane Goodall Institute Global

Specsavers B.V.

Uber Technologies, Inc


PERI Formwork Scaffolding Engineering (Pty) Ltd / PERI GmbH


Work highlights

  • Assisted Dr Ryan Abbott, from University of Surrey and head of the Artificial Inventor Project, with securing the issuance of the world’s first patent for an invention that lists the artificial intelligence as the inventor.  
  • Assisted Rivian with a trade mark filing project during the lockdown of various African IP Registries.
  • Assisted IOT.nxt with applying for and successfully obtaining approval from the South African Reserve Bank for a transfer of IP.

Webber Wentzel

Webber Wentzel advises on the full spectrum of IP services from disputes to M&A issues and portfolio management. It has expertise in a range of sectors including healthcare, technology, agribusiness and transport. Leanne Mostert leads the practice group and is a leading expert in IP exchange control matters. Bernadette Versfeld has extensive litigation expertise and Tim Ball brings significant experience in acting for generic pharmaceutical companies. Christoff Pienaar was a new arrival in April 2022.

Practice head(s):

Leanne Mostert

Other key lawyers:

Bernadette Versfeld; Tim Ball; Carla Collett; Christoff Pienaar


‘Webber Wentzel provides reliable and efficient advice.’

‘Bernadette Versfeld and her team are dynamic, approachable and efficient.’

‘They are always polite and available to their clients.’

‘Extreme professionalism.’

‘Very presentable and practical advice.’

‘Depth of knowledge, not just in SA but internationally when it comes to navigating trademark applications.’

Key clients

Anglo American

Actis Capital LLP

Ernst & Young

Spectrum Security Products (Pty) Ltd

Paradox Security Systems Limited

Kenza Health (Pty) Ltd

Macsteel Services Centre (Pty) Ltd

Tourvest Holdings Ltd

Grohe AG

Snapt Systems (Pty) Ltd

Lixil Corporation and Lixil Africa

Work highlights

  • Advised Anglo American on its internal reorganisation which comprised the separation of the Anglo Group’s South African “thermal coal” assets and business operations from the group’s remaining assets and the subsequent disposal of the Armstrong Assets.
  • Advised Actis group on two high-value transactions: its acquisition of the entire share capital of Octotel Proprietary Limited for ZAR 2.3 billion and its acquisition of a significant minority stake in RSAWeb Proprietary Limited.
  • Assisted Lixil Africa’s shareholders, Lixil Corporation (Japan) with regards to the protection of its brands in Africa and Grohe AG (Germany) in relation to the protection of its designs in South Africa and Kenya.

Moore Attorneys

Moore Attorneys' experienced team is active in trademarks and brand protection while also offering litigation services. The firm processes a high volume of trademark filings throughout Africa and acts for several high-profile clients such as Xiaomi Corporation and Ten Cent Holdings. Managing partner Shane Moore is an experienced practitioner and is supported by Kyle Dalton who is active in the litigation department.

Practice head(s):

Shane Moore

Other key lawyers:

Tyrone Walker; Kyle Dalton

Key clients

Ten Cent Holdings

Softbank Group Corporation

Xiaomi Corporation

Bridgestone Corporation

Brother Industries

Parfums Christian Dior

TransUnion LLC

Cell C

Imperial Logistics Group


Work highlights

  • Assisted Ten Cent Holdings in searching and filing numerous brands in multiple countries throughout Africa.
  • Assisted Softbank Corporation, a huge multinational conglomerate with over $100 billion in capital, in searching and filing numerous brands in multiple countries throughout Africa.
  • Assisted Toyota Motor Corporation in an urgent trade mark infringement matter involving one of its most valuable brands where it was necessary to swiftly enforce withdrawal of the offending trademark applications and to ensure that all use immediately ceased.

Smit & Van Wyk

Smit & Van Wyk is a boutique firm which deals exclusively with IP law in South Africa and provides filing, registration, prosecution and enforcement services regarding IP portfolios. The team's field of practice includes franchising, patents and trademarks among other aspects. Wessel van Wyk is the firm head while Chantal Hoffelner leads the patents department. Esmari Jonker is the head of the trade marks and franchising team with extensive legal experience.

Practice head(s):

Wessel van Wyk

Other key lawyers:

Chantal Hoffelner; Esmari Jonker


Very business-savvy advice.

Wessel van Wyk has incredible knowledge of electronics and software systems.’

Chantel Hoffelner has great biotech knowledge and experience in dealing with complex foreign prosecution.

An extremely competent and approachable team that is always up to date while remaining accessible and reasonable with their pricing.

Wessel van Wyk: expertise in IP law but keeps our company interest in mind and responds to what is best for our IP portfolio.

Wessel van Wyk: Incredibly well versed in business and technology. Truly an exceptional person to work with.

They are generous with their time and able to communicate their knowledge in this specialised subject in an understandable and practical manner.

The advice is pragmatic, efficient and on point.

Werksmans Attorneys

Werksmans Attorneys' IP team supports the firm’s commercial and general litigation practices as well as advising on IP due diligence investigations among other work. Janine Hollesen  heads the IP practice area and Donvay Wegierski  leads the foreign trademark division handling multi-jurisdictional matters.

Practice head(s):

Janine Hollesen

Other key lawyers:

Donvay Wegierski

Key clients

Capitec Bank Limited

Clover S.A. Proprietary Limited

Comair Limited

Diverse Flavours CC

Groot Constantia Trust

Media24 Proprietary Limited

Monster Beverages

Pepkor Limited

Petredec International Pte Limited

Pioneer Foods (Pty) Limited, Pepsico

Santam Limited

Sharenet Investments (Pty) Limited

Shopify Inc

Shoprite Checkers (Pty) Limited

South African Rugby Union

Stellenbosch Outdoor Sculpture Trust

Swartland Winery

Technopharma Limited

Tekkie Town Proprietary

Telkom SOC Limited

Quantum Foods Proprietary Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted on behalf of Monster Energy in numerous trademark oppositions throughout Africa.
  • Represented Pepkor Speciality (Pty) Ltd in a trademark infringement and passing off.
  • Appointed as the attorneys for the Irish and British Lions Tour taking place in July/August 2021 and drafted a strategic branding policy to include counterfeit goods and ticketing.