Spoor & Fisher

Centurion Office

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Chairperson: Jonathan Whittaker
Managing Partners: Marco van der Merwe, Mark Kemp, Lodewyk Cilliers, Eben van Wyk, Tertia Beharie, Herman van Schalkwyk, Dirk Hanekom
Number of partners:
Number of lawyers: 60
Languages: Afrikaans, English

Firm Overview:
The firm is not your typical IP service offering, because Spoor & Fisher is not your typical law firm. For over 100 years Spoor & Fisher has specialised in all aspects of intellectual property law, including trade marks, copyright, patents, registered designs, anti-counterfeiting, commercial work with an IP flavour, and litigation in these fields. Spoor & Fisher protects, manages and enforces intellectual property across Africa and the Caribbean, from its main offices in South Africa and Jersey (Channel Islands). The firm also has local offices across Africa, a direct filing presence in several African countries, and a strategic network of carefully chosen associates in others.

When possibility becomes reality, Spoor & Fisher is there to protect it

Main Areas of Practice:

Trade Marks:
As one of the biggest filers of trade mark applications, Spoor & Fisher is geared to handle most any trade mark query or instruction, anywhere in the world. Its trade mark department deals with trade mark prosecution at all stages, as well as oppositions, trade mark infringement, passing off, ambush marketing, unlawful competition, company name objections, domain name disputes, regulatory provisions, and consumer- and advertising-related matters, with its litigation and anti-counterfeiting teams available for enforcement globally or across Africa.
Contact: Marco van der Merwe
Tel: +27 12 676 1218 Email: [email protected]

Spoor & Fisher clients rely on its multi-disciplinary expertise and experience in handling patent matters across all technical fields: chemical, life sciences, mechanical and electrical. The firm’s highly skilled teams of registered patent attorneys offer services including pre-filing advice and patentability searches; drafting patent specifications; filing and prosecuting patent applications and providing related strategic advice; as well as providing ‘freedom to operate’ opinions. In addition to patent and utility model specifications and applications across Africa, the firm also assists with management of international patent portfolios of South African-based patent owners.
Contact: Dirk Hanekom
Tel: +27 21 673 4405 Email: [email protected]

Spoor & Fisher is home to many of South Africa’s leading copyright practitioners, who have been instrumental in drafting copyright legislation. The firm gives advice on the protection and enforcement including technical design drawings, computer programs, art works, literature, as well as movies and music. It has also litigated in some of the biggest and most ground-breaking copyright cases. In order to serve South African copyright owners who want to protect their copyright globally, as well as foreign copyright owners seeking protection in Africa the firm’s focus areas span copyright advice and opinions; the commercialisation, licensing and exploitation of copyright; and related litigation.
Contact: Herman Blignaut
Tel: +27 12 676 1129 Email: [email protected]

Registered Designs:
To prevent the blatant copying of a design, and to protect its aesthetic and functional features, registered designs are often used alongside other forms of intellectual property protection like patents and trade marks. The firm’s registered designs team has the requisite technical and legal qualifications, as well as experience in preparing, filing and prosecuting design applications across Africa. Spoor & Fisher also assists South African-based design owners in managing their design portfolios in other countries. The litigation team is available, should assistance with enforcement be required.
Contact: Lodewyk Cilliers
Tel: +27 12 676 1045 Email: [email protected]

With one of the most extensive anti-counterfeiting teams on the African continent, Spoor & Fisher has comprehensive expertise in all the legal and practical aspects of anti-counterfeiting enforcement. Its services include border control strategies, investigations, market place enforcement as well as civil and criminal prosecution. This team works closely with a network of skilled agents, specialist investigating firms and various law enforcement agencies across Africa, to offer a unified anti-counterfeiting service.
Contact: Mohamed Khader
Tel: +27 12 676 1285 Email: [email protected]

Domain Names:
There are significant benefits to having the same entity manage your organisation’s trade marks and domain names, because these strategies so often inform each other. The firm’s dedicated domain names team provides a full-service domain name offering, extending from domain name disputes in all forums, traditional functions like watching searches, availability searches, registration, renewal and transfer – both in South Africa and worldwide – to the blending of its legal expertise with industry-leading data. The latter assists Spoor & Fisher clients with commercial transactions, dispute resolution, and litigation.
Contact: Jeremy Speres
Tel: +27 21 673 4401 Email: [email protected]

Plant Breeders’ Rights:
When clients seek to obtain protection for new plants in Africa, plant variety registration is critical. The Spoor & Fisher plant breeders’ rights department is made up of experts who prepare and file plant breeders’ rights applications, advise on the importation and examination of plant variety material, provide advice on the commercialisation of plant varieties, and provide opinions, agreements and handle litigation.
Contact: David Cochrane
Tel: +27 12 676 1001 Email: [email protected]

Consumer & Advertising:
When it comes to pharmaceuticals, complementary medicines, foodstuffs, cosmetics, agricultural products and liquor, Africa is home to diverse regulatory environments, of which South Africa’s is particularly complex. At Spoor & Fisher, the consumer and advertising team provides preclearance checks, advice and dispute handling on packaging, labelling, advertising and other promotional materials; and advice and dispute handling in respect of general regulatory matters through engagement with relevant government departments and industry bodies.
Contact: Megan Reimers
Tel: +27 12 676 1081 Email: [email protected]
Contact: Dirk Hanekom
Tel: +27 12 673 4405 Email: [email protected]

Commercial IP:
The commercial IP department provides advisory and consultancy services, helping clients to derive optimal value from their intellectual property assets. It offers a variety of specialised services – from IP audits, IP due diligence, IP assessment and SME support to advising on competition law, the assignment or sale of IP rights, technology transfers, and commercialisation strategies, including licensing, franchising, and manufacture, supply and distribution. Specific focus areas include high-tech products, sport and entertainment law, book publishing, fashion law, software and the Internet, and consumer protection.
Contact: Dina Biagio
Tel: +27 12 676 1112 Email: [email protected]

While Spoor & Fisher is dedicated to developing effective filing strategies that help clients to protect their IP rights and minimise litigation risk, sometimes litigation becomes unavoidable. This is why Spoor & Fisher has world-class specialist litigation teams, known for their successes in trade marks, patents, designs and copyright cases. Having handled claims for clients across a vast range of industry sectors, the firm has built extensive expertise in all types of matters. In addition, it manages IP enforcement cases throughout Africa, as well as for local clients in foreign jurisdictions.
Contact: Carl van Rooyen
Tel: +27 12 676 1288 Email: [email protected]

When you’ve created something, it’s yours. Let Spoor & Fisher help you to keep it.