After signaling its intention earlier this year to join ARIPO, the Republic of Cape Verde deposited its instruments of accession to ARIPO. The Minister of Energy, Trade and Industry, Hon. Alexandre Monteiro, presented the instruments of accession to the Director General of ARIPO, Mr Bemanya Twebaze at a ceremony held at the Embassy of Cape Verde in Geneva, Switzerland on 14 July 2022. Cape Verde acceded to the Lusaka Agreement and simultaneously deposited its instruments of accession to the Harare Protocol, the Banjul Protocol as well as the Swakopmund & Arusha Protocols.

This means that Cape Verde can therefore be designated in ARIPO patent, utility model, design or trademark application filed after 14 October 2022 which is the effective date of Cape Verde’s accession. Cape Verde becomes the 22nd ARIPO member state following the most recent accessions of Mauritius and Seychelles. ARIPO member states now include the following, Botswana, Eswatini, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  In a move to celebrate this occasion the flag of the Republic of Cape Verde was hoisted at the ARIPO headquarters to mark the shift of the country from an Observer State to a full Member State.

For further information relating to any IP matters in ARIPO please contact


The Minister of Energy, Trade and Industry, Hon. Alexandre Monteiro (left), presenting the instruments of accession to the Director General of ARIPO, Mr Bemanya Twebaze. (image courtesy of Twitter @BemanyaT)

Cape Verde Votes to become the 22nd State to Join ARIPO

On 7 January 2022, the Parliament of Cape Verde approved accession to the Lusaka Agreement.

The Cape Verde Parliament also voted in favour of acceding to the  Banjul and the Harare Protocols on the same day. On 27 January 2022, it further approved  accession to the Swakopmund Protocol.

Cape Verde has indicated, that the instruments of accession will be deposited with the ARIPO Director General at a date, which is yet to be determined.

The Lusaka Agreement established the African Regional Industrial Property Organisation (ARIPO) in 1976. The Administrative Council adopted four treaties for different Intellectual Property rights over the years – namely : Banjul, Harare, Arusha and Swakopmund Protocols.

Cape Verde is now the 22nd state to accede to the Lusaka Agreement, joining Botswana, Eswatini, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Kingdom of Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The Banjul Protocol, which governs the Trade Mark system,  currently has the following countries which have acceded:-  Botswana, Gambia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Liberia and Sao Tome.  Cape Verde, on depositing its instruments of accession, will be the 13th country to accede to the Protocol.

The Harare Protocol regulates the patents and design systems and currently has 19 member states – Botswana, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, São Tomé & Príncipe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Eswatini, Tanzania , Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The Swakopmund Protocol, which mandates the protection of Traditional Knowledge and Expressions of Folklore, currently has 8 contracting states, namely: Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, The Gambia, Liberia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Following the deposit by Cape Verde, applicants will be able to designate Cape Verde as one of the designated countries in ARIPO applications, covering either patents, industrial designs, utility models, trade marks and the protection of traditional knowledge.

That said, Cape Verde’s current Industrial Property Code legislation does not provide for the registration of Intellectual Property in terms of the ARIPO Protocols.

Until the signatories of the  Protocols have incorporated the provisions of the Protocols into their national laws, the enforceability of the legislation remains a moot point.

It is our view that the ARIPO-regional system is not yet an effective or recommended route to take where ARIPO member countries (such as Cape Verde) have not amended their national laws . Furthermore, in countries where ARIPO enjoys full recognition, force and effect in terms of national laws, the examination timelines remain a challenge.

Accordingly, a strategic overview of the applicant party’s intellectual property is required, with the default position being protection on a national basis.

We might add that the Cape Verde Registry has administrative challenges and remains to be seen how it will handle the implementation of the ARIPO system, should it proceed to the instruments of accession.

Adams & Adams named South African IP Law Firm of the Year – Best Lawyers®

Best Lawyers®, a highly respected legal profession peer review publication recently announced their Best Lawyers® list for 2021 acknowledging outstanding global firms and lawyers. In the latest edition, Adams & Adams scooped the top spot for Law Firm of the Year, Intellectual Property Law in South Africa. In addition, 13 Adams & Adams Partners are featured on the list, with Darren Olivier awarded Best Lawyer of the Year, Intellectual Property Law for Johannesburg.

“Being awarded Law Firm of the Year for Intellectual Property Law in this year’s Best Lawyers® list is recognition of our innovation, service and performance, and speaks to our dedication to providing superior service to our clients. Furthermore, we are thrilled to have had a number of our lawyers recognised by their peers for their excellence in their respective fields of expertise. Such prestigious accolades showcase our partners’ outstanding contribution to the legal profession while consistently delivering the best results for clients,” says Gérard du Plessis, Adams & Adams partner and firm chairman.

Recognition in Best Lawyers® is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals alike as a significant honour, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers. The accolades for Adams & Adams in the Best Lawyers® list for South Africa are:

 Best Lawyers® Law Firm of the Year 2021| Intellectual Property Law

  • Adams & Adams

Best Lawyers® Lawyer of the Year 2021 | Intellectual Property Law: Johannesburg

  • Darren Olivier

Best Lawyers® 2021 Edition | Intellectual Property Law

  • Dario Tanziani
  • Johan du Preez
  • Mariëtte du Plessis
  • Samantha Copeling
  • Gérard du Plessis
  • Russell Bagnall
  • Simon Brown
  • Darren Olivier
  • Kelly Thompson
  • Danie Dohmen
  • Alexis Apostolidis
  • Vishen Pillay

Best Lawyers® 2021 Edition | Competition / Antitrust Law

  • Alexis Apostolidis

Best Lawyers® 2021 Edition | Litigation

  • Jac Marais

“We are pleased to note that no Adams & Adams lawyers dropped off the rankings, with new additions being Alexis Apostolidis and Vishen Pillay for Intellectual Property Law and Jac Marais for Litigation. We would also like to congratulate Darren Oliver for his award as Lawyer of the Year, Intellectual Property Lawyer for Johannesburg, which is proof of his hard work and dedication in the IP field,” adds du Plessis.

The Best Lawyers® list of top attorneys is compiled after conducting exhaustive peer review surveys in which tens of thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers.  The awards are free of any participation or recognition fees.

 Individual lawyers with the highest overall peer-feedback by specialist area and geographic region are recognised as the Lawyer of the Year. Only one award is made for each specialty and location. Law Firm of the Year is awarded to a single firm by specialist area, determined on factors that including peer lawyer ballot feedback, the firm’s submission of coverage and scope in the practice area, previous awards, and reputation.

Africa Update 2020 – Nigeria

INTA Workshop Promotes Further Positive Changes at the Registry

Following last year’s release of the first-ever compendium of trade mark opposition rulings by the Registry, a workshop with senior trade mark officials was held in Abuja, in collaboration with INTA.

Simon Brown (partner) and Kelly Thompson (partner), together with local lawyers and a team from our Associate Office, provided training sessions to expand the knowledge of senior officials on trade mark prosecution and opposition issues, particularly focusing on international best practice.

One of the focal points of the workshop, which was held in April 2019, was to work towards changes in respect to the operational challenges faced by the Registry.

The trip also included visits to our Associate Offices in Abuja and Lagos.

WIPO Spec Drafting Workshop

Invited by WIPO, Johnny Fiandeiro, Adams & Adams partner, travelled to Lagos, in May 2019, to provide patent specification drafting training to members of the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment under which the Registry falls.

The workshop was arranged by WIPO but largely run by the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment. There were around 20 participants, mainly from universities and private practice from all parts of Nigeria. With little spec drafting experience, the participants were engaged, enthusiastic, and eager to learn.



  • Oil reserves and advanced oil industry infrastructure will earn significant revenue for years to come
  • Africa’s most populated country offers a large domestic market with a large educated and affluent consumer base
  • A motivated local talent and entrepreneur class exists to exploit the country’s trade links and diversify the economy from oil dependency


  • Boko Haram brutal terrorist activities continue to destabilise parts of the country
  • Government corruption is a significant drain on the country’s resources and will take years of dedicated effort to alleviate
  • The oil-based economy is not sustainable and has led to unpredictable levels of government revenue

Adams & Adams Africa Update 2020 – Welcome from our Advisory Unit

We are pleased to bring you the first section of the 2020 issue of the Adams & Adams Africa Update.

While the far-reaching effects of the global Covid-19 pandemic on Africa’s economy will be difficult to predict, we believe that our continent will recover and remain increasingly relevant on the world stage.

As always, the Africa Update provides a concise summary of all notable legal, IP and economic developments across Africa, as well as a report of our own activities and involvement in the continent’s jurisdictions over the past year. We as a firm continue to assist the development of IP laws in Africa and support governments, the relevant ministries, as well as the Registries, by providing input on procedures, while working closely with our African partners.

We also remain committed to providing all relevant stakeholders with topical, reliable and insightful information related to our great continent through Adams.Africa Advisory. Over the last year of its operation, the Adams.Africa Advisory has made strategic information available to our clients, enabling them to better direct their business strategies in Africa.

As the 2020 edition of the African Update is rather extensive, we have decided to break the magazine down into bite size chunks articles which we will be sending over the course of the next few months. Please be on the lookout for these mailers from Adams & Adams

We trust that you find value in the 2020 Africa Update and that it arms you with additional data to facilitate informed brand and IP Strategies strategies on the African continent. Please continue to support your colleagues and clients as we navigate this challenging environment together.

We wish you and your family health and safety during this time.

Simon Brown
Chairperson – Africa Strategy Committee
Co-chair – Trade Marks Department, Adams & Adams

Read the First Section of the Africa Update Here


Restoration and optimism dominate Africa IP Conversations

The 7th annual Adams & Adams Africa IP Network Meeting took place in Pretoria, South Africa recently, providing a unique opportunity for agents, practitioners and registrars from across the continent to share experiences, challenges, progress and learnings on intellectual property prosecution and litigation in their respective jurisdictions and regions.

The meeting was overshadowed by the recent appalling incidences of xenophobic violence in South Africa, a subject addressed by Adams & Adams Chairman, Gérard du Plessis. “The senseless acts are not only difficult to understand but go against the constitutional values of our nation and our firm.”

Event keynote speaker, Redi Tlhabi echoed the views of du Plessis and recounted her own experiences with the challenges faced by our continent’s citizens, particularly women, every day. She reminded the delegates that raw conversations are desperately needed to help address previous injustices and that the focus should not be to rehash the disputed events, or even dwell in great detail on the causes, but that it should be about the restoration of dignity, rights, identities, and life.

Indeed the following guest speaker, Fernando dos Santos, Director General for ARIPO, explored the strategies required to restore Africa to her rightful place on the world IP stage. He quoted the words of WIPO DG, Francis Gurry, “Ultimately, the source of all innovation and creativity is human and Africa is the cradle of humanity, so it is in this sense the origin of all innovation and creativity that characterizes our species as human beings.”

Currently, Africa only accounts for 0.5% of all patents and 1.9% of all trade marks filed worldwide. He proposed that Africa, particularly IP practitioners, overcome this challenge by assuming their role as stakeholders of the IP system and contribute on:

  • IP awareness creation and education
  • Improvement of the policies, legal and institutional framework
  • Assist local creators and innovators. (e.g. Pro-bono initiatives on patent drafting)
  • Improve the image of the African IP systems
  • Sensitize the global IP fraternity on the important developments of IP in Africa and promote trust

Breakout sessions included robust discussions on non-traditional trade marks, copyright and trade marks in the digital space, domain name complaints, regional organisations such as ARIPO and OAPI, and the interplay between designs, copyright and trade dress.

Simon Brown, Partner and Meeting MC, hailed the event a great success. “Each year, or delegates are becoming more excited about the future of IP’s role in Africa’s economic growth. And we were reminded this year that it will take a team effort to harness all that is wonderful and inspiring about our continent – toward that common goal of restoring Africa to its rightful place.”