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About me

Nicky Garnett is the Head of the Africa Patents Section of the Patent Department, a position she has held since 2008. Nicky is originally from Zimbabwe and moved to South Africa in 2008. She obtained her law degree from the University of Natal (Pietermaritzburg) in 1997 and in 1998 she began working with a leading law firm in Zimbabwe specialising in Intellectual Property.

In the 10 years that she worked in Zimbabwe, Nicky established excellent working relations with the Zimbabwe and ARIPO IP Offices and gained a good working knowledge of their IP systems. The bulk of her practice, whilst still in Zimbabwe, was the filing and prosecution of trademarks, patents and designs but she was also involved in trade mark and copyright litigation matters. In 2007 Nicky decided to move from Zimbabwe to South Africa and at the beginning of January 2008, she took up the position of Head of the Africa Patents in the Patent Department. She now runs a team of 19 people who deal with all incoming patent or design instructions from Adams & Adams foreign clients for filing in any African countries outside of South Africa.

Nicky is integrally involved in the operation of Adams & Adams Africa offices and travels regularly throughout the continent. In 2012 Nicky co-authored a book on Intellectual Property in Africa which was a joint effort of the Adams & Adams Africa Team.

  • African patent and design filings and prosecution

Academic Record

  • LLB – University of Natal | 1997
  • BA – University of Natal | 1995


  • Admitted Attorney (Zimbabwe) |1999
  • Registered Trade Mark Attorney


  • Legal Practice Council (LPC) – Member
  • South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law (SAIIPL) – Fellow
  • Zimbabwe Intellectual Property Institute – Council Member


  • Finance Monthly Law Awards – Shortlisted for Intellectual Property Lawyer of the Year: South Africa | 2018
  • Ranked “Highly Recommended” in Prosecution by IAM Patent 1000 | 2019 – 2024
  • MIP – Global IP Stars: Top 250 Women in IP | 2020, 2023
  • MIP – IP Star: Trade Marks | 2021 – 2023
  • Ranked “Recommended Individual: Intellectual Property” by The Legal 500 | 2023 – 2024
  • WIPR – Leaders: Patents | 2023

Nicky Garnett News & Podcasts