Spoor & Fisher > Johannesburg, South Africa > Firm Profile

Spoor & Fisher
Unit 14, 1st Floor
No. 1 Melrose Boulevard, Melrose Arch
JOHANNESBURG
2076
South Africa

South Africa > Intellectual property Tier 1

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

Testimonials

‘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”)

Starbucks

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.

Established a century ago in 1920, Spoor & Fisher is known for creating and implementing robust intellectual property protection strategies.

Practice areas: The firm’s practice area teams specialise in trade marks, patents, copyright, registered designs, anti-counterfeiting, domain names, plant breeders’ rights, utility models, start-up support, consumer and advertising matters, commercial IP, IP audits and due diligence, and all related litigation.

Intellectual strengths: At the same time, Spoor & Fisher has a reputation for pioneering thought leadership and contributions to IP law and academia. Many of its legal professionals have authored authoritative text books, drafted legislation, and acted in some of the most ground-breaking intellectual property cases of the last 100 years.

Relationships: Clients trust the firm to help them navigate a rapidly changing global IP landscape, while offering a personal experience that feeds off its rich cultural and social diversity.

Spoor & Fisher works hand-in-hand with corporate clients – from global companies to SMMEs – and collaborates closely with legal advisors, agents, and inventors who have an interest in its core geographical regions, Africa and the Caribbean.

Talented people: Spoor & Fisher harnesses the powerful intellect and wide range of skills of its people: a truly exceptional group of patent and trade mark attorneys, scientists, engineers, technical experts, administrative teams and support staff. Currently, the firm has:

  • 38 partners in South Africa and 6 directors in Jersey
  • 11 women partners in South Africa and 2 women directors in Jersey
  • 7 black partners
  • 246 support staff in South Africa and 84 support staff in Jersey

Vision and mission: Looking to the future, Spoor & Fisher’s vision is to be Africa’s leading intellectual property law firm. Along this journey, its mission is to protect, enforce, and manage clients’ IP using the most innovative, robust, and cutting-edge solutions available.

Awards and accolades

  • Managing Intellectual Property (MIP): “Best Intellectual Property Law Firm in South Africa” in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019 as well as the “Best Intellectual Property Law Firm in Africa” in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, as was well as the new “South African Patent Firm of the Year” in 2021.
  • Chambers & Partners: Band 1 by Chambers and Partners for Intellectual Property (IP) legal services in South Africa (2011 – 2021).
  • Legal 500: Band 1 ranking in the ratings of IP firms in South Africa in 2010, 2011, 2013 and between 2015 – 2020.
  • IAM Patent: Gold band rating in IAM Patent 1000’s rankings since 2011 (2011 – 2020).
  • WTR 1000: Gold band rating (2011 – 2021).
  • The Global IP Awards: South Africa Trademark Firm of the Year 2019 and 2020.
  • Innovation & IP Forum and Awards (INIFA): Gold Award for the Best IP Advisor Africa & Middle East Category in 2018 and 2019.
  • Professional Management Review Africa (PMR): Diamond Arrow Award (highest rating) for Intellectual property (highest rating) since its inception in 2007.

www.spoor.com

DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
Trade marks Marco van der Merwem.vdmerwe@spoor.com+27 12 676 1218
Patents Dirk Hanekomd.hanekom@spoor.com+ 27 21 673 4405
Copyright Herman Blignauth.blignaut@spoor.com+27 12 676 1129
Designs Lodewyk Cilliersl.cilliers@spoor.com+27 12 676 1045
Anti-counterfeiting Mohamed Khaderm.khader@spoor.com+27 12 676 1285
Commercial IP Dina Biagiod.biagio@spoor.com+27 12 676 1112
IP valuations Dina Biagiod.biagio@spoor.com+27 12 676 1112
Domain names Jeremy Speresj.speres@spoor.com+27 21 673 4401
Litigation Carl van Rooyenc.vanrooyen@spoor.com+27 12 676 1288
Plant Breeders’ Rights David Cochraned.cochrane@spoor.com+27 12 676 1001
Consumer, Advertising & Regulatory Megan Reimersm.reimers@spoor.com+27 12 676 1081
Number of lawyers : 62
ABA
AIPLA
AIPPI
APAA
ECTA
FICPI
IBA
INTA
LES
MARQUES
Other offices : Cape Town
Other offices : Johannesburg
Other offices : Jersey, Channel Islands

At Spoor & Fisher, we promote the principle of equal opportunity and fair treatment through the elimination of unfair discrimination on any grounds.  We ensure that this principle is generally reflected in all of our policies, procedures and practices, as well as in the conduct of our employees. We aim to create an environment which accommodates diversity, a culture comfortable for all, where diversity is integrated into the mainstream of business life to ensure the attraction and retention of diverse talent. All differences, inclusive of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, culture, language and physical ability, are respected and the rights of groups upheld in alignment with the philosophy and spirit of the Constitution of South Africa.

Our transformation agenda encompasses BBB-EE, transforming the firm to be representative of the demographics of South African society and promoting and implementing skills development measures to empower previously disadvantaged individuals. We aim to enhance and promote representation in respect of ownership, management and control of the firm by black legal practitioners. Finally, creating a culture that is all embracing, and that harnesses, values and nurtures diversity is key to our employee experience.

Our participation in the Signa learnership program has proved very successful over the years, through targeted skills development. Our commitment to youth development is further demonstrated with our participation in the YES for Youth program, aimed at creating quality work experiences for the youth in our country.

Spoor & Fisher takes corporate social responsibility (CSR) very seriously, with various ongoing initiatives to empower societies:

Spoor & Fisher Adult Education Centre:

There are currently many forward-looking educational solutions in South Africa helping young, born-free South Africans gain education and skills to enable them to live fulfilling lives. There are far fewer looking back, reaching out to help bridge a generational gap in education that left many people behind. Our school is open to anyone who is illiterate. The bulk of our learners have been domestic workers and gardeners who have been unable to find any other kind of work as a result of their illiteracy. Spoor & Fisher remains humbled and grateful that we can help disadvantaged South Africans live better lives. By financing the project from teachers’ salaries, learner’s books and stationery, to renting the premises, we are changing real lives every day.

eDeaf:

eDeaf is an organisation dedicated to empowering the deaf community through skills development training. In 2012, Spoor & Fisher entered into a partnership with the organisation. As part of its support, the firm provides eDeaf with office facilities. Spoor & Fisher employs several deaf individuals, and through partnering with eDeaf, these individuals have an opportunity to add value to our firm.

We have also contributed to CSR initiatives including clothing donation drives, food collection drives, the setting up libraries and building vegetable gardens. These initiatives bear testimony to the commitment of Spoor and Fisher to diversity and transformation, retaining our talent and ensuring that our staff continue to feel included, in an environment that fosters diversity and development.

 


IP PRACTICE SPECIALISMS

Established in 1920, Spoor & Fisher is a specialist intellectual property (IP) law firm, with in-depth knowledge of and experience in all aspects of IP, including trade marks, copyright, patents, registered designs, anti-counterfeiting, commercial work with an IP flavour, as well as litigation in these fields.

INDUSTRY SECTOR STRENGTHS

All of our departments, including patents and designs have specialists in the following industries, making it possible for us to tailor our service offering to each of our clients.

  • Automotive, Transportation and Materials Handling;
  • Consumer, Luxury, Retail and Fashion Goods;
  • Electronics, IT and Software;
  • Engineering;
  • Food & Beverage;
  • Medical Technologies;
  • Biotechnology, Agriculture, Chemistry and Pharmaceuticals;
  • Mining and Resources;
  • Energy;
  • Sports, Creative, Entertainment, Hospitality and Media

INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE AND ALLIANCES

Our main offices are located in South Africa and Jersey (Channel Islands). We also have a presence, alliance or trusted agent in all African countries. We have physical offices in Gambia, Ghana, Malawi, Zambia, OAPI[1] (via Cameroon) and ARIPO[2] (via Malawi) and a direct filing presence in Sierra Leone and Zanzibar. In those countries where we do not have our own offices, we either file directly or have carefully appointed local associates, with whom we have a long established relationship.

Each country in Africa presents different circumstances. Thanks to technology, back office operations can, and now commonly are, located anywhere. Our local representatives enhance our ability, in those countries where it is practicable, to acquire knowledge and improve communications with the local officials.


[1] OAPI – Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (English: African Intellectual Property Organization) is an intellectual property organization, headquartered in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The organisation was created by Bangui Agreement of March 2, 1977. The Bangui Agreement was subsequently amended in 1999. Its 17 member states are mostly French-speaking countries. http://www.oapi.int/index.php/en/

[2] ARIPO – The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) is an inter-governmental organization that facilitates cooperation among its 19 member states in intellectual property matters. ARIPO was established by the Lusaka Agreement of 1976. https://www.aripo.org/

 


CLIENT: Stephane T.
COMPANY/FIRM: Elleve International Limited
TESTIMONIAL: As a fashion brand with a global strategy, Mr Reinard Kruger from Spoor & Fisher helped us achieve and exceed all our objectives. We found a partner that understands our needs and truly cares about the interest of their client. From our brand’s initial registration to successfully implementing a complex internationally coordinated defence strategy, Mr. Kruger guided us and helped us succeed with the utmost care and professionalism. Mr. Kruger from Spoor & Fisher is one of the best IP partners that we’ve worked with across the world.


CLIENT: Ms EG Joubert
COMPANY/FIRM: Cancer Association of South Africa
TESTIMONIAL: Spoor and Fisher has rendered their services to CANSA for more than 10 years. They assist CANSA with our Trademark portfolio. They render their professional services to CANSA on a pro bono basis, which is highly appreciated as CANSA is an NPO. We are most impressed with their level of professionalism. They are highly reliable and stand by their commitments irrespective of the fact that it is a pro bono service. We can highly recommend engagement to other potential clients who require their services.


CLIENT: Danie Matthee
COMPANY/FIRM: Adcock Ingram Healthcare (Pty) Ltd
TESTIMONIAL: Spoor & Fisher has been rendering Litigation Services to Adcock Ingram Healthcare (Pty) Ltd (“Adcock Ingram”) since approximately the year 2000 and Adcock Ingram hereby gives Spoor & Fisher an overall assessment of excellent for services rendered.


CLIENT: Braam Schoeman
COMPANY/FIRM: S. C. Johnson & Son South Africa
TESTIMONIAL: “We as S. C. Johnson & Son South Africa has been on a journey of more than 20 years with our legal partners Spoor & Fisher attorneys. What started off with the registering and protection of our intellectual property moved on to the combatting of counterfeit goods. We highly value their intuitive approach to all related legal matters always putting the client and their interests first.”


CLIENT: Siphokazi Cilibe
COMPANY/FIRM: Tiger Food Brands Intellectual Property Holding Company (Pty) Ltd
TESTIMONIAL: Tiger Brands’ relationship with Spoor & Fisher goes back to 1931 when the firm’s first trade mark application filing was our very own Jungle mark! Our relationship with the firm has grown from strength to strength and we continue to work together as colleagues, rather than law firm and client, in managing Tiger Brands’ extensive IPRs portfolio. We have a dedicated team at Spoor who have made it their mission to not only intimately know our brands (and their related IPRs) but to also have an in-depth knowledge of our business. The team’s depth of expertise and level of responsiveness is unmatched. They are an easy and fun team to work with, and are always willing and able to go the extra mile!


  • Acted for The United States Polo Association (USPA) and Stable Brands (Pty) Ltd (Stable Brands) in opposing an urgent application for an interdict based on trade mark infringement which was brought by LA Group (Pty) Ltd (LA Group) to restrain the use of certain trade marks by USPA and its licensee, Stable Brands, in South Africa. At the same time, acted for Stable Brands in seeking cancellation of various trade mark registrations in the name of LA Group.
  • Acted for Tiger Food Brands Intellectual Property Holding Company (Pty) Ltd (“Tiger Brands”) in a trade mark opposition matter in China which involved the issue of bad faith filings in China. Successfully represented Tiger Brands in another opposition matter in China involving the PURITY ELIZABETH ANNE’S trade mark.
  • Acted for Cars on the Internet (Pty) Ltd in a South African Domain Name Complaint matter involving the use and registration of the descriptive term CAR in both a trade mark as well as in a domain name.
  • Acted for Macsteel Service Centres SA (Pty) Ltd in a South African Domain Name Complaint matter where the details of the Registrant were falsified and incomplete which assisted in proving that the domain name registration was an abusive registration.