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Mariëtte du Plessis

About me

Mariëtte du Plessis is currently a retired partner and consultant in the Trade Mark Litigation section of the Trade Marks Department. She has been a partner in the firm of Adams & Adams since 1997 and is an experienced top-tier ranked IP attorney with over 30 years of experience in IP. She served on the Minister of Trade’s Standing Advisory Committee on IP for a number of years. She was the chairlady of the Trade Mark Litigation section in 2009 and has chaired the Design Committee and initiated the firm’s sponsorships for The Design Indaba, The Loeries Advertising Awards and South African Music Awards (SAMAs) to raise awareness of IP amongst creatives and performing artists in South Africa. She has also served on the firm’s African and the Marketing committees. Mariëtte specialises in all trade mark, copyright, advertising law and domain name related disputes throughout Africa, as well as regulatory advice. She represents high profile South African and international clients in their trade mark and copyright matters throughout Africa. She was the client relation partner for many of the firm’s top local and international clients. She has been involved in a number of high-profile cases over the years.  In the case of Pioneer Foods (Pty) Ltd v Bothaville Milling (Pty) Ltd, she successfully represented the respondent in the case up to the Supreme Court of Appeal. It is regarded as the “road map” for passing off cases in South Africa. She is also a Senior Adjudicator for domain name disputes. She served as a Council Member of the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law (SAIIPL) for many years and was the President in 2007. She served on and chaired the Copyright and Trade Mark Law committees of SAIIPL for many years. She received a Presidential Award in 2012. She has served on numerous INTA committees including Africa Legislative Analysis committee (and chaired it), PDA Council, the OAPI/ARIPO sub-committee and currently the Law Firm Management sub-committee. She is also currently the secretary of the Marques International Trade Mark Team and serves on the Working Group on the Improvement of ARIPO. Mariëtte has a particular interest in IP aspects of the arts, design and advertising, with a focus on educating young creative talents to protect their IP. She regularly lectures on IP at advertising and design schools. She has written numerous articles on a wide range of IP related topics in South Africa and published articles in World Trade Mark Review, Marques newsletters and local publications, including De Rebus, the leading publication for attorneys in South Africa. She has also presented talks on IP at many South African conferences. She has been quoted in newspaper articles and is regularly approached for interviews by local newspapers, radio and television stations.

Read More
  • Trade Mark Litigation
  • Trade Mark and Copyright Infringement
  • Passing off
  • Unlawful Competition
  • Company Name Objections
  • Advertising Law Disputes and Advice


  • Recordal of Chain of Ownership for Copyrighted Works
  • Registration of Copyright (in all African countries where it is possible)
  • Copyright Assignment Agreements
  • Domain Name Registrations and Complaints
  • Management of Trade Mark Portfolios
  • Regulatory Advice


  • International Trade Mark Association (INTA) – Member
  • INTA: OAPI/ARIPO Committee Member | Current
  • INTA: Board – Director | 2006 – 2008
  • INTA: Legislative Analysis sub-committee (Africa & Middle East) – Chairlady | 2002 – 2003
  • INTA: External Relations Committee and PDA Council – Vice-chairlady | 2004 – 2005
  • INTA: Trade Mark Office Practices Committee, OAPI/ARIPO Sub-committee – Member | 2006 – 2013
  • Legal Practice Council (LPC) – Member
  • South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law (SAIIPL) – Fellow
  • SAIIPL: Constitution Code of Ethics Committee Member | Current
  • SAIIPL: Council Member 2003 – 2008


  • SAIIPL: President | 2007
  • SAIIPL: Trade Mark Law, Copyright Law and ADR Committees – Past Member & Past Chairlady
  • SAIIPL: Education Committee Past Member
  • The Association of European Trade Mark Owners (MARQUES) Trade Mark Law Committee of Marques – Secretary

Academic Record

  • LLB – University of Pretoria | 1986
  • BLC – University of Pretoria | 1984


  • Admitted Attorney | 1988
  • Qualified Trade Mark Practitioner | 1992


  • Who’s Who Legal Ranking – Sports & Entertainment | 2016 – 2018; 2020 – 2022
  • Who’s Who Legal Ranking – Trademarks | 2016 – 2022
  • Woman in Business Law Experts Guide – One of the World’s Leading Trade Mark Practitioners | 2016 – 2017
  • WTR 1000 – Individuals: Enforcement and Litigation | 2019, 2022 – 2023
  • WTR 1000 – Individuals: Transactions | 2022 – 2023
  • WTR 1000 – Leading Trade Mark Professionals – Top Tier | 2017
  • Acritas Stars database – Outstanding Lawyers in South Africa| 2018 – 2020
  • Best Lawyers® – Intellectual Property Law: South Africa | 2015 – 2023
  • Best Lawyers® – Intellectual Property ‘Lawyer of the Year’ South Africa | 2022
  • Best Lawyers® – Entertainment Law | 2023
  • Chambers Global – Ranked Lawyer | 2016 – 2023
  • Chambers Global – South Africa Trade Marks | 2013 – 2019
  • Legal 500 – Elite Leading Individuals: Intellectual Property | 2020 – 2022
  • Legal 500 – Recommended Lawyers: Intellectual Property | 2020 – 2022
  • Legal 500 – Key Lawyer: Intellectual Property | 2022
  • MIP Global IP Stars – Top 250 Women in IP: Trademarks | 2017 – 2018; 2021 – 2022
  • MIP IP Stars – Trademarks | 2017 – 2023


  • Client Choice Awards Finalist | 2016
  • Corporate LiveWire’s Legal Awards Finalist | 2016
  • Euromoney IP Star Finalist | 2016
  • Euromoney’s Expert Guides: Women in Business Law – Leading Practitioner Nominee | 2014
  • Finance Monthly Global Awards – Sports and Entertainment Lawyer of the Year: South Africa (Shortlisted) | 2017
  • InterContinental Finance Magazine (ICFM) – Leading Lawyer 500 Award Winner | 2013
  • SAIIPL Special Achievement Presidential Award | 2012
  • Top Women Award Finalist | 2013
  • Woman in Business Law Experts Guide – One of the World’s Leading Trade Mark Practitioners | 2020
  • WIPR – Leaders: Trade Marks | 2021 – 2022
  • WIPR – Influential Women in IP | 2021
  • Acquisition International Leading Adviser Awards: Leading Intellectual Property Disputes Attorney of the Year, South Africa | 2022
  • Corporate INTL Magazine Global Award – Trade Mark Litigation Expert of the Year in South Africa | 2023

Mariëtte du Plessis News & Podcasts

Brands in Africa: the dos and the don’ts

Africa is a vast continent and is often underestimated, both from a business but also from a brand p...


After signaling its intention earlier this year to join ARIPO, the Republic of Cape Verde deposited ...

WIPR Influential women in IP

Adams & Adams is delighted to announce that it is the only law firm globally to have a lawyer re...


It’s the most beautiful object in South Africa – and it’s protected! Thabisa Mjo’s Tutu ...


Pichulik’s ‘bold jewellery, bold women’ recipe garners Maker to Market Award


Beyoncé may have drawn further attention to his name when she endorsed his luxury designs in a blog...