Dario Tanziani
Involvement & Accolades



Patent Attorney


South African / Italian

Post Qualification Experience 28 years

Dario has 28 years experience and has represented a variety of multinational research based pharmaceutical companies with blockbuster drug patent litigation. Dario’s practice includes patent searches, transactional matters and prosecution of new patent filings. He has also contributed on aspects of South African and African patent law in several books and professional periodicals.


BSc (Chem & Maths) - University of Pretoria (1981)
BProc - University of South Africa (1987)

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Admitted attorney (1988)
Qualified Patent agent (1986)
Registered Patent attorney (1988)

Practice Areas

Industrial designs
Patent and Design litigation
Searches and assignments
High Court litigation in above areas


PLC Cross-Border IP in Business Tranactions – 9th edition
PLC Cross−border IP Handbook-recommended IP Lawyer
Managing Intellectual Property Magazine Expert Guides-Patent Law Practitioners 2010
The International Who’s Who of Patent Lawyers 2010
Lawyer Monthly Magazine Leading Lawyer 100 - 2011
Lawyer Monthly Magazine Leading Lawyer 100 Asia Pacific 2011
The International Who’s Who of Life Sciences Lawyers 2011
Intellectual Asset Management Magazine Patent Litigation 250 (2012)
The International Who’s Who of Patent Lawyers 2013
Listed in IAM Patent 1000 – World’s Leading Patent Practioners (2013)
The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers 2014Best Lawyers:
Intellectual Property Law - South Africa 2014

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Related articles

    On 3 March 2015 the Labour Appeal Court (LAC) ruled that the Court’s prior interpretation of the validity of termination notices issued in violation of section 189A(8)(b)(i) of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) was incorrect.  On 22 January 2016 the Constitutional Court in Steenkamp & Others v Edcon Limited CCT 46/15 and CCT 47/15 (22/01/2016) confirmed the LAC’s judgment that dismissals which failed to comply with the specific time period imposed by section 189A were not rendered null and void and of no force and effect.
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    The issue pertaining to the State’s liability for compensation under Section 35(1) of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Disease Act (COIDA) again fell into the spotlight when parties acting on behalf of both the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans and the Applicant, Dr. Liesl-Lenore Thomas argued the issue before the Constitutional Court on 19 May 2015.  Judgment is reserved.

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    After publishing a General Notice issued in Gazette Number 38764 on Tuesday, 5 May 2015 (the Notice) which had the effect of virtually abolishing the recognition of ownership rights achieved using broad-based ownership schemes and employee share ownership programmes (B-BBEE Schemes) when calculating a measured entity’s broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) ownership score, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) calmed the resulting storm on Friday, 8 May 2015 by releasing a media statement to the effect that this provision will not have retrospective effect and that B-BBEE deals concluded prior to 1 May 2015 will not be affected.

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    The recent judgment of Gush J in the matter of Mia v State Information Technology Agency (Pty) Ltd has been a landmark judgment regarding the rights of parents to maternity benefits.  The judgment concerns an application by the Applicant that the Respondents refusal to grant “maternity” leave to enable the Applicant to care for his new born child born by a surrogate constituted unfair discrimination on the grounds of gender, sex, family responsibility and sexual orientation.  

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    That’s the worst thing about depression:  a human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight.  But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end.  The fog is like a cage without a key.” – Elizabeth Wurtzel

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    New ‘Guidelines on Misconduct Arbitrations’ which direct how commissioners must deal with misconduct arbitrations have been issued by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and will replace the ‘Guidelines on Misconduct Arbitrations’ issued in 2012 (“previous Guidelines”)  with effect from 1 April 2015.

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    Adams & Adams partners have received yet another accolade for their contribution to South African law – this time by 2014 Best Lawyers®.  The individuals recognised as among the world’s best intellectual property lawyers are Adams & Adams’ chairman Gérard du Plessis, partners Mariëtte du Plessis and Dario Tanziani, as well as Brett Oldridge and Chris Job – former partners who now work as consultants to the firm.

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  • Blowing the lid off the 'Whistle-blower Act'

    The Protected Disclosure’s Act is legislation which was enacted for purposes of affording protection to the proverbial whistleblowers in the workplace. The main policy consideration underlying the Act is to foster a culture of whistle blowing in the work environment in order to combat the prevalent nature of both employers and employees to simply overlook certain improprieties. The purpose of this article is to explore the exact scope of the Act in order to draw attention to both employers and employees about the actual protection which is afforded in terms of the Act.


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  • Fair's fair? Applying Affirmative Action
    The ideals behind the enforcement of affirmative action in the workplace in South Africa, post-1994, are sound and understandable; however, there have been many challenges to overcome to ensure that the empowerment of the previously disadvantaged does not defeat the Constitutional right to equality.
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    At the first general partners meeting of the new financial year of law firm Adams & Adams, Gérard du Plessis was elected Chairman of the partnership.  Du Plessis is the youngest partner in the history of the firm to step up to the helm.

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  • Diamond Award for Excellence in Legal Services 2012 for Adams & Adams
    The Southern Hemisphere’s largest Intellectual Property law firm and internationally acclaimed law firm Adams & Adams has been awarded the Diamond Award for Excellence at the annual PMR.africa City of Tshwane Leaders and Achievers Awards during a breakfast at the Sheraton Hotel.  The award is the highest level awarded by PMR. africa.
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  • Adams & Adams – an African first

    The Southern Hemisphere’s largest IP law firm’s representatives gather for IP Seminar

    Internationally-acclaimed law firm Adams & Adams - the largest Intellectual Property law firm in the Southern Hemisphere - hosted the biggest IP seminar of its kind on the African continent when it welcomed its 47 representatives from 25 different countries to its head office in Pretoria, South Africa on 20 September 2012.


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  • OAPI celebrates its 50th Anniversary
    The African Organisation for Intellectual Property (OAPI) recently celebrated its 50th anniversary in Yaoundé, the capital city of Cameroon, where it has its headquarters.
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  • Competition Commission applies for leave to appeal

    Competition Appeal Court decision – Fundamental issues at play...

    The Competition Commission has filed an application for leave to appeal the Competition Appeal Court’s decision giving the merger between Pannar Seed and Pioneer Hi-Bred the green light.

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  • Keep an eye on your wall

    Post at your peril.  “Fans of Facebook and the social media may inadvertently find themselves in hot water when it comes to what they post on the various media,” says Danie Strachan, partner at law firm Adams & Adams.

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  • New location for top law firm Adams & Adams’ Durban practice

    Adams & Adams - the largest intellectual property practice in the Southern Hemisphere, and one of the biggest general law firms also providing commercial, property and civil litigation expertise in South Africa - has relocated its Durban practice to premises situated in the commercial hub of the Ridgeside area in Umhlanga Ridge, Kwa Zulu Natal. The move follows the exponential growth of the firm and the Durban practice.

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  • Adams & Adams opens an OAPI office
    Adams & Adams, following on from the recent opening of its new offices in Tanzania and Burundi, and the merging of the Bowman Gilfillan IP practice into that of the firm on 1 March, is proud to announce the opening of an additional African office.
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  • Are Proposed Amendments to Section 11D Providing Clarity?
    The current section 11D of the Income Tax Act No. 58 of 1962 (the Act) provides for research and development (R&D) incentives which include a 150% deduction of operating expenses and accelerated depreciation of any building or part thereof, machinery, plant, implements, utensil or article.
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  • Patents Act Section 25(4)(b): 'essentially biological process not being a microbiological process'
    Here we analyse two cases in which the grant of patents was opposed on the basis that the granted patents included claims directed to an “essentially biological process for a production of plants, such processes not being microbiological processes”. The analysis is aimed at providing an interpretation of Section 25(4)(b) of the the South African Patents Act based on the decision in relation to a similar provision in the European Patent Convention.
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  • Adams & Adams announces move to new premises
    The partners of law firm Adams & Adams, officially announced the firm’s move to new premises along with the unveiling of its corporate identity.

    Adams & Adams chairman and partner, Dario Tanziani, explained that the new developments are a reflection of the growth and development that have taken place within the firm in recent years. “Although we remain committed to our founding values, including integrity, honesty, professionalism and an intense client focus, we are now able, through modern premises, equipment and IT, to express them in a more modern context. Clients therefore have the best of both worlds.”
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  • Section 11D – Research & Development Incentive
    The South African Government introduced Section 11D of the Income Tax Act (No. 58 of 1962) in order to encourage and incentivise private sector investment towards the research and development of scientific or technological activities. The Act assists in ensuring that research and development (R&D) activities are conducted within South Africa. Conducting R&D in SA will ultimately result in a positive economic growth in South Africa.

    Section 11D provides for two types of incentives. Under Section 11D (1) a 150% deduction of operating expenses is discussed, and section 11D (2) addresses accelerated depreciation of any building or part thereof, machinery, plant, implements, utensil or article. For the purposes of this article, section 11D (1) will be the area of focus.
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  • Implementing the Intellectual Property Rights from Publicly Financed Research & Development Act
    “Legislation cannot be implemented unless it has the necessary framework of regulations to put it into effect." So says Adams & Adams Senior Consultant Esmé du Plessis in an article on the polity.org.za website. The article relates to the correct implementation of the Intellectual Property (IP) Rights from Publicly Financed Research and Development Act, which affects a number of South African universities, institutions and research councils, as well as funding entities. The article also quotes Adams & Adams Chairperson Dario Tanziani. To see the full article, click here.
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  • The business impact of intellectual property laws in South Africa
    A new study, released today, documents how intellectual property laws in South Africa impact on and influence business operations in the country.

    The analysis was conducted by Nthabisheng Phaswana and Dario Tanziani from the law firm Adams & Adams, and reported in their publication, The Business Impact of Intellectual Property Laws in South Africa.

    The results of this in-depth analysis have international implications, as many nations are struggling with their current intellectual property laws, trying to keep pace with fast moving technological advances.
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  • Life Sciences Legal Review
    Adams & Adams partner Dario Tanziani writes about the firm's work in the life sciences field in Volume 7, Issue 11 of the magazine ACQ.
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  • Are genetically modified (GM) crops the answer to food shortage?
    For a long time, researchers have concentrated on finding different methods and technologies aimed at developing cures and treatments for diseases to the point that other fields of research were neglected. However, one problem that may be as devastating as disease is food shortage.

    Food shortage is a problem worldwide. Solutions to fight food shortage have long been sought but after many years of research, hunger still prevails, more so in developing countries. The advent of technology has brought with it many possibilities to alleviate food shortage.
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  • India’s struggle to protect traditional medicines against ‘biopiracy’
    Under normal patenting procedures, a patent application should be rejected in cases in which information regarding the invention has been disclosed publicly.

    Therefore, in an effort to protect and avert groundless patenting leading to commercial exploitation of traditional medicines inherent to India, the Indian government recently permitted access to its Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TDKL), a unique database that houses ancient texts and methods, to examiners at the European Patent Office (EPO).

    This initiative came into play after the startling discovery by scientists in Delhi of the extent of “bio-prospecting” of natural remedies by foreign countries.
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  • Dario Tanziani multiple listed in International Who’s Who Legal
    Dario Tanziani, partner at Adams & Adams and chairman of the patent department, has been listed as one of the world’s pre-eminent life sciences lawyers in the International Who’s Who of Life Sciences Lawyers 2008 and as one of world’s pre-eminent patent attorneys in the International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers 2009 (the latter for the fifth consecutive year). Dario has also been listed in the 2008 edition of Practical Law Company’s annual publication, Which Lawyer? as a recommended patent practitioner.
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  • The Supreme Court of Appeal lays down the law on patent claim construction in SA - or does it?
    A previous judgment by the Supreme Court of Appeal (“SCA”) relating to the same patent and registered design, but having different parties and a different infringing article, was referred to in the present matter as the Flag & Flagpole case. It had a bearing on the judgment in the present case, in which the appellants appealed against the orders of the Court of the Commissioner of Patents and the High Court, which had sat as one Court of first instance. It had held that the respondent’s South African patent had been infringed by a flag construction, illustrated as follows:
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SA Institute of Intellectual Property Law (SAIIPL) - fellow
- Patent Law Committee
- Competition Law Committee
Law Society of the Northern Provinces
- Competition Law Committee
International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI)
International Federation of Industrial Property Attorneys (FICPI) - member
Law Society of the Northern Provinces - member
Law Society of the Cape of Good Hope - member
Natal Law Society - non-practising member
South African Country Correspondent for EIPR
Black Lawyers Association - member
Listed in IAM Patent 1000 – World’s Leading Patent Practioners (2013)
Listed in Best Lawyers 2013 - Intellectual Property Law
Finance Monthly Global Awards 2014 - Patent Lawyer of the Year (South Africa)

+27 12 432 6000

+27 12 432 6547

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The firm practises directly in several Southern African countries and through long-established associates in others.