Intellectual property rights are enforced through the various courts in South Africa. In the case of patent matters, the court of first instance is the Court of the Commissioner of Patents, a specialist court having the same authority as a single judge of the High Court. In other intellectual property matters, such as trademark and registered design disputes, the court of first instance is the High Court.
An appeal against a decision of the Court of the Commissioner of Patents or the High Court can be made to the full bench of the High Court (a panel of three judges instead of one), or to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, the highest court of appeal in all matters except constitutional matters.
South African courts are generally well disposed towards intellectual property rights holders and, in our experience, are more likely to find for a rights holder than against it.
Our team has extensive experience in intellectual property litigation, including patent, trademark, registered design and unlawful competition matters.