Intellectual Property

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.

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.

Patent Filing and Prosecution

Obtaining grant of a patent can be a time-consuming and sometimes expensive process, but litigation can be even more costly. Mistakes must be avoided at all costs then, and Adams & Adams has more collective experience than any other patent law firm in Africa – particularly in dealing with applications and the defence of patents across the globe. The patent team of Adams & Adams can guide you through the maze of patent application facts and potential challenges or objections.

Adams & Adams offers an exhaustive patents search and filing service for both local and foreign applicants and clients who wish to define and commercialise their invention or design in South Africa, Africa and globally.

Commercialisation

If you are interested in exploiting your patent rights for commercial benefit, our Patents Practice is best placed to ensure that the licence agreements and other commercialisation mechanisms are well drafted and watertight in protecting your rights and maximising the benefit to you.

Our Designs & Patents Commercialisation team is ready to assist you with the following matters (among others):

  • Sales agreements for designs
  • Licensing and royalty agreements
  • Registered design assignment and transfer

Patent Litigation Enforcement

A patent gives you the right to prevent or stop others from making, using, exercising, offering to dispose of, disposing of or importing your patented invention and you may institute proceedings against a person who does any of these things. The Patent Litigation Group at Adams & Adams has an excellent track record in all forms of Patent rights enforcement.

Our team will assist you with any enforcement or litigation matters related to:

  • Patent Infringement Proceedings
  • Patent revocation
  • Patent enforcement

Patent Quote

Get an automatic patent filing Cost Estimate with Africa’s leading IP Law Firm

If you are in need of a filing cost estimate for a patent application, get an online quote from Africa’s leading IP law firm by completing the form below. Adams & Adams provides you with price estimates for filing patent applications in South Africa and all other major African regions, including Nigeria and regional organisations such as ARIPO, OAPI. To find out more about the different patent protection provisions and services available to you in jurisdictions across Africa, please see our interactive Africa map.

Plant Breeders’ Rights

South Africa is a member of the UPOV Convention for the Protection of new Varieties of Plants, and the WTO / TRIPS. Protection by way of a plant breeder’s right may be obtained in respect of new varieties of certain ‘kinds of plants’ by filing an application for registration under the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act. Contact us now for details on protectable subject matter, as well as our services pertaining to Plant Breeders’ Rights in South Africa and worldwide.

Our Trade Mark attorneys provide clients with a number of specialist services relating to the acquisition, enforcement and commercialisation of Trade Marks and other intellectual property rights.

These services include counsel and the handling of transactions in matter involving Trade Marks, licensing, and data security. The Trade Mark attorneys 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.

SEARCHES AND FILING

Any trade mark that is registered should be a strong protectable brand. What may seem a good idea, or innovative, may lead to rejection for many different reasons. And if your application succeeds, how do you use the trade mark effectively. These are all aspects that are covered in detail when you consult with Adams & Adams Attorneys. We’ll talk to you about the process, about the suitability and strength of the mark, unintended connotations of your proposed mark, how to properly use your mark, potential legal refusals to register the mark and other issues as may pertain to your particular circumstances.

TRADE MARK COMMERCIALISATION

Owners of trade marks can often exploit the commercial value of that intellectual property by licensing other people to use their intellectual property in a controlled manner. Allowing someone to use your intellectual property under licence would typically ensure a regular royalty stream as well as enhancing the awareness of your brand through the marketing and activities of the licensee.

TRADE MARK COMMERCIALISATION

Owners of trade marks can often exploit the commercial value of that intellectual property by licensing other people to use their intellectual property in a controlled manner. Allowing someone to use your intellectual property under licence would typically ensure a regular royalty stream as well as enhancing the awareness of your brand through the marketing and activities of the licensee.

TRADEMARK LITIGATION

There’s a popular saying; “What you don’t know, can’t hurt you.” It’s not necessarily true for trade marks unfortunately. “What you don’t know, can hurt you.” You’ve registered your trade mark and you’re reaping the benefits of a healthy, valuable brand. How can you ensure that your mark is safe and exclusive, and who do you turn to when someone infringes on your right?

Adams & Adams is well placed to assist in maintaining your trade mark through the constant scanning of new applications and through regular checks of infringement. There are a variety of remedies available should it become necessary to defend your valuable intellectual assets:

  • Litigation motion proceedings
  • Litigation trial proceedings
  • Interdicts
  • Passing-off matters

ADVERTISING LAW SERVICES

The Adams & Adams Advertising Law Group has represented the advertising, marketing and promotion industries, as well as hundreds of brand-owners, for many decades. Our clients include name-brand advertisers, advertising agencies, production companies, media companies, publishers, and leading trade associations.

AMBUSH MARKETING

Section 15A was added with effect from 30 December 2002. The Minister of Trade and Industry may declare an event (which means a show, exhibition or competition of a sporting, recreational or entertainment nature which is held in public as newsworthy or attracts public attention and is financed or subsidised by commercial sponsorship and includes a broadcast) a “protected event” if he is satisfied that the staging of the event is in the public interest and creates sufficient opportunities for small businesses and particularly those of previously disadvantaged communities.

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

Adams and Adams copyright law services include advising on and handling of transactions involving copyrights. These transactions include licensing and transfer of ownership or assignment agreements, as well as enforcement work including infringement notices and prosecution of formal proceedings in Court.

The partners and associates in our copyright litigation group 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.

Copyright Infringement Prosecution

The principle of any kind of property is that the owner may use it as he wishes, and that nobody else can lawfully use it without his authorisation. This does not, of course, mean that he can use it regardless of the legally recognised rights and interests of other members of society. And similarly, the owner of copyright in a protected work may use the work as he wishes, and may prevent others from using it without his authorisation.

We are able to assist with clarifying the various rights of copyright, assisting you with disputes related to copyright claims, and international copyright matters.

Copyright Commercialisation

The South African Copyright Act allows the author or the copyright owner the privilege to authorise or prevent certain acts in relation to a creative work. The rights owner of a work can use, transfer, license, prohibit or authorise the reproduction, distribution, public performance, broadcasting, translation or adaptation of copyright material.

The Intellectual Property Commercialisation team can assist you with arrangements in respect of the following copyright matters:

  • Licensing and royalty agreements
  • Assignment and transfer of ownership
  • Motion picture agreements

Copyright Enforcement

In many cases, judicial proceedings can be instituted by the copyright owner to obtain relief in the case of infringement of copyright. Such proceedings can be instituted either by way of application or by action. The Intellectual Property Litigation Group at Adams & Adams will assist you with the following copyright enforcement matters:

  • Application proceedings
  • Action proceedings
  • Interdicts
  • Royalty claims

Our Intellectual Property Group provides 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, trade marks, 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.

Copyright Infringement Prosecution

The principle of any kind of property is that the owner may use it as he wishes, and that nobody else can lawfully use it without his authorisation. This does not, of course, mean that he can use it regardless of the legally recognised rights and interests of other members of society. And similarly, the owner of copyright in a protected work may use the work as he wishes, and may prevent others from using it without his authorisation.

Copyright Commercialisation

The South African Copyright Act allows the author or the copyright owner the privilege to authorise or prevent certain acts in relation to a creative work. The rights owner of a work can use, transfer, license, prohibit or authorise the reproduction, distribution, public performance, broadcasting, translation or adaptation of copyright material.

The Intellectual Property Commercialisation team can assist you with arrangements in respect of the following copyright matters:

  • Licensing and royalty agreements
  • Assignment and transfer of ownership
  • Motion picture agreements

Copyright Litigation (Enforcement)

In many cases, judicial proceedings can be instituted by the copyright owner to obtain relief in the case of infringement of copyright. Such proceedings can be instituted either by way of application or by action. The Intellectual Property Litigation Group at Adams & Adams will assist you with the following copyright enforcement matters:

  • Application proceedings
  • Action proceedings
  • Interdicts
  • Royalty claims

Adams & Adams has one of the largest Anti-Counterfeiting teams, consisting of attorneys, as well as other professional and support staff, dedicated to combatting the trade in counterfeit goods in Africa. In addition, Adams & Adams is the only firm with internal investigators based across several jurisdictions, dedicated to pro-actively investigate and assist its clients with effective and sustainable Anti-Counterfeiting measures.

Our team is well informed and equipped to deal with any client queries related to the prevention and detection of counterfeiting as well as the enforcement of legal action across Africa to clamp down on counterfeit goods.

Anti-Counterfeiting Strategies

Our team regularly conducts client portfolio reviews to ensure that the necessary IP rights are protected and, if not, recommends ways to fill the gaps. The Counterfeit Goods Act makes provision for enforcement based on infringements of registered trade marks, copyright, as well as infringements of well-known (unregistered) trade marks.

We keep accurate records of all clients’ rights in this regard and ensure that Customs recordals are regularly reviewed to ensure timeous renewals and updating of records. We maintain a very good relationship with law enforcement and ensure excellent collaboration with the authorities to secure apprehension of dealers in counterfeit goods as well as the identification of new trends in importing and moving counterfeit goods.

We also conduct in-depth investigations to infiltrate sophisticated criminal enterprises involved in counterfeit goods trade and to understand the extent of the problem. Based on the outcome, we devise an effective enforcement strategy within client’s budget, including:

Participating in training of law enforcement agencies;
Conducting in-market surveys or investigations and obtaining test purchases;
Lodging complaints with various law enforcement agencies;
Participating in regular search and seizure operations;
Educating the public through the media to raise awareness of IPRs, counterfeit activities and health/safety awareness;
Facilitating co-operation between stakeholders nationally, as well as regionally and internationally, such as the WHO, WTO, WCO and Interpol and
Instituting civil action and supporting criminal action against counterfeiters.

Counterfeit Goods in Africa

Economic conditions and business environments in general have improved significantly due to decolonisation, urbanisation, withdrawal of unfavourable sanctions, economic emancipation of many countries and rapidly growing middle classes. Research indicates that the rate of urbanisation in Africa is faster than that of any other continent – to the extent that Africa is expected to no longer be considered a rural continent within the next ten to fifteen years.

This demonstrates that there is good business potential in Africa. It is for this reason that multinational brand holders have embarked on expansion plans, profitable to fully exploit their intellectual property potential, increase sales and generate revenue. However, this has also created a demand for counterfeit goods.

Counterfeit goods trade is rife in Africa. The fundamental issues experienced include a lack of proper legislative framework, weak enforcement as a result of lack of experience and limited resources. However, these challenges are not insurmountable and there are legal avenues available to effectively address the proliferation of counterfeit goods on the continent.

Over the past few years, counterfeit fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) have developed into a thriving market. One of the main concerns with counterfeit FMCG goods is the health and safety risk posed to unsuspecting consumers. A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicates that nearly a quarter of pharmaceuticals in circulation in developing countries – including HIV/Aids, TB and malaria treatments – are of a poor and unacceptable quality. Such medication is at best ineffective and at worst, deadly. Counterfeit motor vehicle or aircraft replacement parts also place innocent lives at serious risk. Another concern is that counterfeits have now filtered into the legitimate distribution channels.

Our Anti-Counterfeiting team is capable to assist with enforcement in Africa and regularly travel to Southern African, East, West and Central African countries to engage and assist international, reginal and local enforcement agencies with investigation, training and supporting criminal prosecutions.

South Africa is a member of the UPOV Convention for the Protection of new Varieties of Plants, and the WTO / TRIPS. Protection by way of a plant breeder’s right may be obtained in respect of new varieties of certain ‘kinds of plants’ by filing an application for registration under the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act. Contact us now for details on protectable subject matter, as well as our services pertaining to Plant Breeders’ Rights in South Africa and worldwide.

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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