patent attorneys in south africa


Our patent attorneys provide clients with a full range of legal services relating to the acquisition, enforcement and commercialisation of intellectual property rights.

These services include counsel and handling of transactions in cases involving patents, copyrights, trademarks, designs, licensing, and data security. The partners and associates in our intellectual property group also litigate these issues in courts across Africa. Adams & Adams is the largest IP firm in Africa and is ranked among the leading firms in Intellectual Property in the world.

What Is a Patent?

A patent provides the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the patented invention for the term of the patent. A patent is a limited property right the government gives inventors in exchange for their agreement to share details of their inventions with the public. Like any other property right, it may be sold, licensed, offered as security, or transferred. A patent is usually a right granted to anyone who invents any new, useful, and non-obvious process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter. Similar rights can also apply to industrial designs and plant breeding.

Effect of a Granted Patent

A patent, when granted, confers upon the patentee in South Africa, for the duration of the patent (as long as it is maintained in force by the payment of the renewal fees), the right to exclude other persons from:

  • making,
  • using,
  • exercising,
  • advertising or selling, or
  • importing

the invention, so that he shall have and enjoy the whole profit and advantage accruing by reason of the invention. The grant of a patent also does not necessarily entitle a patentee to exploit the invention; it merely entitles him to exclude others from competing with him. The right to exploit depends upon whether or not prior rights are held by other parties.

How to Apply for a Patent

Our specialised patent attorneys are able to assist you throughout the patent application process, all the way through to patent registration. If you would like to get in touch with one of our patent attorneys for a discussion or consultation, please contact us. If you are not ready to make contact yet but would like more information about patent protection in general,download our brochure. Also, you may file a provisional patent application (but not a complete patent application!) without a patent attorney by contacting the Patent Office (CIPC) directly. However, do be aware that many self-filed provisional patent applications inadvertently limit the scope of protection which they provide and a self-filed provisional patent application will not in itself lead to a patent registration.

Adams & Adams Patent Services

The Adams & Adams patent attorneys are all qualified attorneys and patent agents, and all have engineering or science degrees. In addition, our professional assistants are fully qualified attorneys with technical degrees and are all in the process of qualifying as patent agents.

Our highly experienced team of experts and litigators is responsible for local patent and design filing; patent and design filings from abroad; patent and design filings in Africa; patent and design litigation; and patent and design recordal and renewals. The team is also able to assist inventors with the licensing of patents.

We proudly render a full range of patent legal services in a wide variety of technical fields such as biotechnology, chemical engineering, chemistry and pharmaceuticals, electrical and electronic engineering, mechanical engineering, plastics and polymer technology, computer technology and civil engineering.

Contact one of our patent law professionals

  • Alexis Apostolidis

    Alexis is a leading expert on the interface between competition law and intellectual property in South Africa, having dealt with the competition law aspects of the enforceability of intellectual property rights to the Supreme Court of Appeals in South Africa. He has represented clients both before the South African Competition Commission and Competition Tribunal.

  • Colin MacKenzie

    Colin MacKenzie’s involvement with intellectual property law spans three decades. Colin qualified as a mechanical engineer in 1982 and worked for a company specialising in the design and manufacture of military equipment.

  • Danie Dohmen

    Danie Dohmen is a partner at Adams & Adams in the patent litigation section. He specialises in patent, design, plant breeder’s rights and intellectual property agreement litigation, commercialisation and opinion work. Danie has for a number of consecutive years been ranked in tier 1 for patent litigation in South Africa.

  • Dario Tanziani

    Dario has over 30 years’ post-qualification and has represented a variety of multinational research based pharmaceutical companies in blockbuster drug patent litigation leading to landmark decisions in this field.

  • Dieter Welthagen

    Dieter is a partner in the Africa Section of the Patent Department, which is responsible for the filing and the prosecution of national patent and design applications in African countries (other than South Africa) and of regional patent and design applications at ARIPO and OAPI, for non-South African clients.

  • James Davies

    James is a patent attorney with an electronic and computer background, and with a genuine interest in these things and all things technological. James works in the patent department, mainly assisting local clients in filing and prosecution patent and design applications in South Africa and indeed all over the world.

  • Janice Galvad

    Janice Galvad is a Partner in and the Chairperson of the Patent Department at Adams & Adams. She has been a Partner at the firm since 2004.

  • Johnny Fiandeiro

    Johnny is a patent partner in the Johannesburg office of Adams & Adams. He has a BSc Eng (Electrical) from Wits University, and an LLB from UNISA.

  • Louis van der Walt

    Louis van der Walt is a partner in, and past Chairman of, the Patent Department of Adams & Adams and advises clients in relation to the preparation and filing of patent applications, registered design applications and plant breeders’ rights.

  • Nicky Garnett

    Nicky Garnett is the Head of the Africa Patents of the Patent Department, a position she has held since 2008. Nicky is originally from Zimbabwe and moved to South Africa in 2008.

  • Nthabisheng Phaswana

    Nthabisheng is a partner in the Africa Patent Department. She holds LLB and LLM (Mercantile Law) from the University of Pretoria. She was admitted as an attorney in 2005.

  • Philip Pla

    Philip Pla is a partner in the patent department in the firm’s Cape Town office.

  • Pieter Visagie

    Pieter is a registered patent attorney. His practice is focused on the drafting of patent specifications and the prosecution of patent applications both locally and abroad. In this respect, Pieter has had extensive exposure to the prosecution practices of the patent offices of most major foreign jurisdictions, including the United States Patent Office, the European Patent Office, the Chinese Patent Office, the Japanese Patent Office, the Australian Patent Office, etc.

  • Russell Bagnall

    Russell Bagnall has advised clients on several contentious issues involving pharmaceutical disputes between multinational and generic companies. He also advises pharmaceutical clients on a wide range of issues, including licence and distribution agreements, co-promotion agreements and regulatory issues.

  • Vishen Pillay

    Vishen has drafted and prosecuted patent and design applications on behalf of many South African Universities, Science Councils, US Fortune 500, and South African Top 100 companies.

  • Wilhelm Prozesky

    Wilhelm specialises in the management of foreign clients’ patent and design portfolios in South Africa. The majority of Wilhelm’s clients comprise a wide range of overseas-based multi-national enterprises.

  • Wynand Fourie

    Wynand Fourie is a partner in the firm’s patent department and holds an electronic engineering degree from the University of Pretoria together with a law degree.

  • Charleen Rupnarain

    Charleen specialises in Biotechnology and Life Science-related patent matters. She has a solid background in Intellectual Property Management in the public funding sector.

  • Deborah Marsicano

    Ms Marsicano is a patent attorney who specialises in domestic and international patent and design matters.

  • Ramon Pereira

    Ramon specialises in the management of foreign clients’ patent and design portfolios in South Africa within the Patent Overseas Filing Section, with the majority of his clients comprising a wide range of overseas-based multi-national enterprises.

  • Sophia Smallbones

    Sophia is a qualified patent attorney and an associate in Adams & Adams’ patent litigation department. She holds BSc Chemical Engineering (with Honours) and LLB degrees, both obtained from the University of Cape Town. Sophia is primarily involved litigation matters in the fields of patents, designs and copyright law.

  • Thapelo Montong

    Thapelo is an admitted attorney as well as a registered patent attorney in the Johannesburg office of Adams & Adams. He has a BSc Eng (Metallurgy & Materials Engineering) degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, and a LLB from UNISA.

  • Anri Bezuidenhout

    Anri Bezuidenhout is an Associate in the Patent Department of Adams & Adams. She holds a degree in chemical engineering as well as a law degree. Anri is an admitted attorney of the South African High Court and a qualified patent attorney.

Send us an enquiry

How can we help you?

We have offices in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban, please contact your nearest office for any legal enquiry or assistance.

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