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.

What is a Patent?

A patent provides the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the patented invention for the term of the patent. A patent is a limited property right the government gives inventors in exchange for their agreement to share details of their inventions with the public. Like any other property right, it may be sold, licensed, offered as security, or transferred. A patent is usually a right granted to anyone who invents any new, useful, and non-obvious process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter. It can also apply to industrial designs and plant breeding.


A patent, when granted, confers upon the patentee in South Africa, for the duration of the patent (as long as it is maintained in force by the payment of the renewal fees), the right to exclude other persons from:

■ making,

■ using,

■ exercising,

■ disposing or offering to dispose of, or

■ importing

the invention, so that he shall have and enjoy the whole profit and advantage accruing by reason of the invention. The sale in South Africa of a patented article by or on behalf of a patentee or his licensee shall, subject to other patent rights, give the purchaser the right to use and dispose of that article. The fact that a patent has been granted does not mean that it cannot be revoked. At any time after the grant of a patent, any person has the right to apply for the revocation of the patent on any of the grounds prescribed by the Act. The grant of a patent also does not entitle a patentee to exploit the invention; it merely entitles him to exclude others from competing with him. The right to exploit depends upon whether or not prior rights are held by other parties.

Adams & Adams Patent Services

The Adams & Adams patent partners and the associates are all qualified attorneys and patent agents, and all have engineering or science degrees. In addition, our professional assistants are fully qualified attorneys with technical degrees and are all in the process of qualifying as patent agents.

Our highly experienced team of experts and litigators is responsible for local patent and design filing; patent and design filings from abroad; patent and design filings in Africa; patent and design litigation; and patent and design recordal and renewals. The team is also able to assist inventors with the licensing of patents.

We proudly render a full range of legal services in a wide variety of technical fields such as biotechnology, chemical engineering, chemistry and pharmaceuticals, electrical and electronic engineering, mechanical engineering, plastics and polymer technology, computer technology and civil engineering.

Patents Brochure


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