Adams & Adams > Durban, South Africa > Firm Profile

Adams & Adams
South Africa

South Africa > Intellectual property Tier 1

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.

South Africa > Construction Tier 4

Construction is a growing area of strength for Adams & Adams and the team has a particular focus on contentious mandates, representing a vast array of contractors and developers. Grégor Wolter and Jac Marais jointly head the team from Pretoria..

Practice head(s):

Key clients

City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality

Primat Construction


Atterbury Property Holdings

Kharafi Holdings

Efkon South Africa

Lombardy Developments

AL Mphago Civil Construction

Turnover Trading

Get Connected Construction

Work highlights

  • Acting for the City of Cape Town in a multimillion-rand dispute for follow on damages arising from collusion between three major construction firms for the construction of the Cape Town World Cup Stadium for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
  • Acting for Primat Construction in a roads construction dispute with the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality.
  • Acting for Cadcon in a multi-jurisdictional dispute regarding the construction of a paint shop in East London for a well-known German motor vehicle manufacturer.

Who we are: Established in 1908, Adams & Adams is an internationally recognised and leading African law firm that specialises in providing intellectual property, corporate and commercial services. With primary office locations in South Africa [Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban] and branches and associate offices in a number of African countries, our firm’s leadership position as the largest intellectual property law practice in Africa, and one of South Africa’s foremost corporate, property and commercial law firms is reflected in the ground-breaking work we do and the valuable client relationships we have with many of the world’s largest corporations and organisations, as well as small to medium-sized companies.

The partnership (68 partners) and professional staffing environment at Adams & Adams is characterised by diversity, ingenuity, professionalism, as well as stability. The breadth of our practice areas, and impressive level of legal knowledge and expertise allows clients the opportunity to rely on our firm as a comprehensive resource for the most challenging and complex legal needs. We are pioneers in the areas of legislative advancement and knowledge, which allows our Partners to provide exemplary legal representation with efficiency and mastery.

Our Intellectual Property law practices work with clients around the globe and across many industries to protect, enforce and commercialise their intellectual property. The group offers clients a full range of legal services relating to the acquisition, enforcement and commercialisation of intellectual property rights.

Additionally, the general commercial legal service practices of Adams & Adams boast competent and powerful teams that are purposed to represent clients in expertise areas such as commercial and contract law, commercial litigation, property services, public procurement, banking and finance, mergers and acquisitions, tax, exchange control, franchising, competition, labour, personal injury, arbitration and dispute resolution, among others.

Adams & Adams is committed to being a responsible corporate citizen – both in the way that our practices are managed internally and in how we deliver client service – delivering positive impact for our colleagues, clients, profession, environment and our local community.

We are proud to be a platinum sponsor of South Africa’s King IV Report, a corporate governance code that sets out the philosophy, principles, practices and outcomes which serve as the benchmark for good corporate governance in South Africa – a lodestar to improving the impact that business can have in society.

This is underpinned by our work culture and our firm-wide values of teamwork and respect, integrity and fairness, understanding and commitment which is held core to everything that we do. We take our corporate responsibility seriously and strongly believe in behaving in a socially responsible approach and giving something back where possible to our people and our local communities.


Our responsible business programme covers four areas:

  • Children & Youth Welfare
  • Collaborative CSI Projects
  • Career Development & Pro Bono
  • Environment and Procurement

Our work in facilitating the welfare of children in need is dominated by our vital involvement in the Bana Ba Kgosi Feeding Scheme and Creche located not far from our Head Office in Pretoria, but we are greatly involved in many other programs aimed at looking after our country’s future generations. Adams & Adams have collaborated with Sizani Foods to provide nutritious meals to the Bana Ba Kgosi feeding Initiative. We are proud to support the feeding initiative. 700 children are now able to attend school, due to receiving a meal every day, filling their tummies with the food and nutrients their mind and bodies require.

Adams & Adams is the 2018 winner of the ManagingIP Global Award for Corporate Social Responsibility and Innovation in Africa.

Our professionals are engaged with several pro-bono matters, particularly in the advancement of the preservation of heritage and culture. Our professionals recognise that they have the power and the assets to be able to improve the lives of fellow South Africans and a social obligation to assist deserving citizens by means of education support and pro-bono work.


The firm has an active Diversity Committee which has as its objective the identification and elimination of any discriminatory practices and so ensuring an equal opportunity working environment along race and gender lines. We also have a Staff Consultative Forum which addresses diversity and opportunity within the firm. The firm has been actively engaged in progressing black owned Enterprise Development entities to supplier status and thereafter in the ongoing development and progression of these suppliers within the firm.

The effectiveness of International (MADRID) Registrations in Africa

The international trade mark registration system (known as the Madrid system) is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) based in Geneva, Switzerland.  It is considered to be a one-stop solution for the registration and management of trade marks worldwide.  Brand owners from Madrid member countries can file one application, in one language and pay one set of fees to protect a trade mark in up to 114 countries (comprising 80% of world trade – and growing). How effective is Madrid in Africa?

Launch of .Africa domain extension

Further to previous updates regarding the .africa domain extension, the launch dates of the various phases have been finalised as follows: