When we engage with a new client we invest time in a transition period to familiarise our team with their key strategic issues. Assessing whether they have the correct balance of protection across their intellectual property (IP) portfolio and if their current enforcement cases should be settled or withdrawn are some of the areas we look at. For our existing clients, we continually look at what other intellectual property (IP) services we can offer that fit their current business needs. We also work with local Africa-based businesses to assist with their worldwide intellectual property (IP) portfolios.

Our business is grouped into 13 practice teams. Find out more about what we do, our expertise and how we can help.

  • Trade Marks

    Validity and enforceability of international registrations in African countries through to long response times from local registries – these are some of the concerns and challenges that international brand owners face when looking to protect their trade marks across such a vast continent with numerous laws and practices. Similar issues exist in the Caribbean.

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  • Patents

    Enforceability of patent rights in African and Caribbean countries through to difficulties in conducting patent searches - these are some of the concerns and challenges that patentees face when looking to protect their inventions across such vast regions with numerous laws and practices.

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  • Copyright

    Copyright laws exist throughout Africa and several countries are members of international treaties such as the Berne Convention. This means that international copyrights are protectable.

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  • Registered Designs

    Designs involve substantial investment. Registering designs prevents the blatant copying of a design and should often be used with other forms of intellectual property protection such as patents and trade marks. Although a registered design only safeguards the appearance of an article and offers a limited form of protection, it is beneficial to register. A product may be the subject of both patent and design protection - patents and registered designs should not be viewed as mutually exclusive.

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  • Anti-Counterfeiting

    Trade mark, patent and design counterfeits as well as copyright infringement is a growing issue to intellectual property rights holders. Counterfeit goods constantly infiltrate market places around the world, particularly Africa. Our anti-counterfeiting team works with a network of investigating firms and customs officials across Africa. We assist clients by identifying perpetrators through to enforcing anti-counterfeiting rights and handling the prosecution of counterfeiting matters against importers.

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  • Commercial IP

    Achieving the right leverage for intellectual property assets in challenging jurisdictions such as Africa is achievable through working with our team of patent, design, trade mark and copyright specialists - businesses across the world choose us to manage their intellectual property portfolios. Although our main focus is Africa we also advise on matters in the Caribbean and other countries worldwide. We work with local African companies on their portfolios within and outside of Africa.

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  • IP Valuations

    Unlike some intangible assets, intellectual property assets are legally protected and are therefore enforceable. External factors such as market conditions continually affect the value of intellectual property assets. Our intellectual property valuation team provides valuations to corporates, merchant banks, venture capitalists and accounting firms in South Africa for the purpose of establishing royalty rates for licensing; raising capital for an acquisition or sale; brand management; compliance; tax; insurance; and for litigation and expert witness work.

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  • Domain Names

    Our domain name team provides the following services for clients looking to register domain names throughout Africa, and for South African clients on their local and international registrations:

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  • Litigation

    Africa’s economic growth brings with it an increasing number of commercial disputes involving intellectual property rights. While we focus on effective filing strategies to minimise litigation risk, sometimes it is unavoidable, Our dispute resolution team works with clients on their trade mark, patents, designs and copyright cases to reach the optimum settlement approach.

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  • Plant Breeders' Rights

    As commercial activity surrounding new plant varieties in Africa becomes more widespread, plant variety registration is critical to ensure proper protection.

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  • Regulatory

    With increased consumer spending from a growing middle class more and more brands are being made available on the African market. There is increasing concern about regulation, especially product safety. Several countries have regulatory systems in place but the policing of product registration remains erratic. Despite this, products must be registered. Failure to observe proper protocols will impact on business.

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  • Utility Models

    A utility model is similar to a patent in that it provides a monopoly right for an invention. Utility models are also known as ‘petty patents’ or ‘utility innovations’. For certain types of invention, filing a utility model application as a means of protection may be a useful alternative to patent protection in many countries in Africa.

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  • Trade Mark, Patent and Registered Design Renewals

    Our automatic renewals service is available for patents and designs. It means that our clients can rest assured that payments will be made on time so that their portfolios are maintained.

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  • Start-up Support

    Intellectual property (IP) is a key asset of any business, especially so in the case of a start-up. If you are a new business it is likely that you have created IP worthy of protection. The ideas that lie at the heart of your business are the product of your inventiveness and innovation and it is essential that your IP is protected right from the start. You must also be in a position to extract the maximum possible commercial benefit from your IP.

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  • IP portfolio management

    We manage IP portfolios in more than 150 jurisdictions for numerous global brand owners across all industry sectors.

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