Ralph van Niekerk

Patent Attorney

An experienced patent attorney with an aptitude for complex patent prosecution and commercial IP issues coupled with a broad understanding of international IP matters.

Ralph van Niekerk’s interest in high technology companies sees him advising clients on strategic patent and commercial IP issues at Von Seidels.

About Ralph van Niekerk

Ralph is a patent attorney and partner at Von Seidels. His expertise includes patent prosecution, litigation and technology licensing for a broad range of clients. His particular focus is in the ICT, software and electronics industries where he has extensive experience in developing and managing large patent portfolios. His clients range from start-ups and universities to global technology companies.

Ralph holds undergraduate degrees in electronic engineering, computer science and law, and holds a Master of Laws from Stanford Law School. As one of the few practising South African patent attorneys with a United States IP law qualification, Ralph offers clients valuable insight into IP matters in the US.

He is also in charge of quality standards at Von Seidels and spearheaded the firm’s ISO 9001 certification.

Best Lawyers recognises Ralph van Niekerk as a leading lawyer in IP law (2021 - 2024). Ralph featured as the ‘Lawyer of the Year’ in IP law, South Africa (2022).

Managing Intellectual Property recognises Ralph as a ‘Patent Star’ (2013 - 2022).

IAM Patent 1000 features Ralph as a Recommended Individual (2012 - 2023).

The Legal 500 recognises Ralph as a ‘Leading Individual’ (2014 - 2023).

Who’s Who Legal features Ralph as a patent expert (2022 - 2023).

Focus areas

  • Patent prosecution
  • Patent and IP litigation
  • Registered designs
  • Copyright
  • Portfolio management
  • Licensing


  • Stellenbosch University, BEng Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (2003)
  • University of South Africa, LLB (2007)
  • South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law, Qualified Patent Attorney (2007)
  • Stanford Law School (USA), LLM, Science & Technology (2008)

Affiliations and accolades

  • Attorney of the High Court, South Africa
  • Patent Attorney, South Africa
  • Fellow, South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law (SAIIPL)
  • Foreign Affiliate, American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA)
  • Member, International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys (FICPI)
  • Member, International Trademark Association (INTA)
  • Fulbright Scholarship recipient

Featured in

Von Seidels Awarded

“Patent Firm of the Year – South Africa” recognition during Managing Intellectual Property’s awards ceremony held last night in London.

The Future of Work

Ralph van Niekerk in a panel discussion on the topic `The Future of Work` at the INTA Annual Meeting 2022 in Washington D.C.

INTA AM 2022

Our INTA team is excited to be flying to Washington D.C. for the in-person INTA Annual Meeting. We really look forward to reconnecting with our…

IPIC and CTCT 2022

Normally we would be well into the IPIC – IP Industry Cycle tour – at this time of year, enjoying scenic bike rides and socialising with friends from…