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The Top 5 Go-To IP Lawyers in Johannesburg

The Top 5 Go-To IP Lawyers in Johannesburg

Credibility – We looked into each lawyer’s educational and professional backgrounds, as well as the reputation of the firms they represent. 

Performance – We also checked the lawyers' performance and track record.

Client support – We made sure that these lawyers and their firms don’t only provide high-quality legal assistance, but also superb client support. We gauged their attentiveness and attitudes when dealing with clients.

Rates – Some don’t bother protecting their intellectual property because of the costs of legal services, so we made sure the firms we included have reasonable pricing for their services.

1. Anthony van Zantwijk – IdeaNav 

Anthony van Zantwijk – IdeaNav Homepage


Address: 9 Kruger St, Oaklands, Johannesburg, 2192, South Africa

Contact Details: +27 11 483 1439

Operating Hours: Not indicated

Google reviews score4.7/5 reviews score4.8/5
Total reviews4/5
Score consistency4.5/5
Client support4.5/5


  • One of the firm’s directors
  • Impressive educational background
  • Has more than 17 years of experience
  • Part of one of SA’s biggest patent firms
  • Offers online transactions to reduce costs


  • Jam-packed schedule
  • Prioritises bigger and commercial IP cases

Anthony van Zantwijk is a seasoned patent attorney and registered tax practitioner. 

Before law, he took up civil engineering at the University of Witwatersrand. Then, he completed his LLB and LLM at the same university years after. 

It’s also worth mentioning that he was awarded cum laude when he graduated with his bachelor’s degree.

He started his career as a patent lawyer 17 years ago and since 2005, he has worked for different law firms in Johannesburg. Currently, he’s one of IdeaNav’s accomplished directors.

Atty. van Zantwijk focuses on IP commercialisation, tax, exchange controls, valuations and structured finance. Previous clients recommend him for his professionalism, cleverness, and well-organised strategies.

However, as he takes the lead for all patent cases, Atty. van Zantwijk’s schedule can be very busy. Make sure to call in to book a consultation with him in advance.

Also, take into consideration that Atty. van Zantwijk only works with patents, which primarily cover technology and inventions. Moreover, as he is focused on commercialisation, he prioritises bigger and commercial IP cases.

IdeaNav, originally Sibanda & Zantwijk (S&Z) Patent Attorneys, is one of the biggest and most accomplished patent firms in South Africa. In 2021, they were identified as the leading filer of patents in South Africa.

One of IdeaNav’s features that we really appreciate is its commitment to providing legal IP assistance at an affordable cost. The list of fees for local and international IP services is available on their website.

To help reduce costs for the whole process, IdeaNav offers online transactions for patent, design and trademark filings, which we love. Lastly, they also use an online system to make the filing, tracking and managing IP cases easier and cheaper.

2. Charleen Rupnarain – Adams & Adams Attorneys

Charleen Rupnarain – Adams & Adams Attorneys Homepage


Address: 34 Fredman Dr, Sandhurst, Sandton, 2146, South Africa

Contact Details: +27 11 895 1000

Operating Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Google reviews score4.3/5
Facebook reviews score4.5/5
Total reviews5/5
Score consistency4.5/5
Client support4/5


  • Specialises in biotechnology and life science-related cases
  • Also has a background in medicine
  • Member of LES, SARIMA, and LPC
  • Recognised fellow of SAIIPL


  • Priotritises corporate entities
  • Poor client communication

Charleen Rupnarain is one of Adams & Adams Attorneys’ experts in intellectual property rights and patent cases. When working on cases, she handles drafting, filing and registration, as well as all prosecutions involved.

One thing that impressed us is her educational and professional background. Aside from her law degree, Atty. Rupnarain also holds a bachelor’s degree in Biological Science and a PhD in Cancer Genetics.

As she’s more interested in adopting technologies used for medicine, Atty. Rupnarain apparently prioritises clients who are corporate entities. While they still accept cases from individuals, it’s likely that these will fall below the hierarchy.

Because of her background in science and medicine, Atty. Rupnarain focuses on patent cases involving biotechnology and life science. We’re impressed that in her years of practice as a patent lawyer, she has worked repeatedly with the public funding sector.

Moreover, Atty. Rupnarain has taken part in prosecuting patent applications outside South Africa.

She is also a recognised member of several associations, including the Licensing Executives Society (LES), the South African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA), and the Legal Practice Council (LPC).

On top of that,  Atty. Rupnarain is an esteemed fellow of the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law (SAIIPL).

Adams & Adams Attorneys, where she works, is a well-established multifaceted law firm. They’re one of South Africa’s leaders when it comes to intellectual property and commercial cases.

They were established in 1908 and through the years; the firm expanded and built its name in the business. Just in the previous 5 years, they were able to collect multiple awards from several international associations, which is impressive.

Clients’ only concern is Adams & Adams Attorneys’ poor client communication. It’s disheartening how there are several complaints about how the firm’s representatives are difficult to reach out to and clients are often left hanging waiting for a response.

3. Craig Shapiro – Witz Inc Attorneys

Craig Shapiro – Witz Inc Attorneys Homepage


Address: 1st Floor, The Conservatory, 13 Baker St, Rosebank, Johannesburg, 2196, South Africa

Contact Details: +27 11 010 0400

Operating Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Google reviews score4.6/5
Facebook reviews score4/5
Total reviews4.5/5
Score consistency4.5/5
Client support4/5


  • Firm’s CEO and department head
  • Fellow of the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law
  • Specialises in brand identity and protection
  • Has access to a global network
  • Uses high-technology IP management software systems


  • Reports on having rude receptionists
  • Fully booked schedule

Craig Shapiro is a high-performing lawyer who works in intellectual property, sports, and entertainment. Particularly, he focuses on the commercialisation, management, enforcement, and acquisition of intellectual property rights.

This also includes trademark clearance searches, registrations, and audits. Atty. Shapiro is also involved in intellectual property due diligence investigations and other intellectual property-related agreements.

What’s special about what Atty. Shapiro does is he also specialises in brand identity and protection. Thus, he is often seen engaging media, entertainment, and sports personalities.

In fact, he’s one of the province’s hotshot celebrity lawyers. Atty. Shapiro is highly in demand and his schedule can get strenuous, so do note that he might not be able to accept more cases. 

We’re also impressed with Atty. Shapiro’s professional background. He has substantial experience in both corporate and personal brand protection, and was able to work with many of South Africa’s notable IP firms.

Atty. Shapiro is also the CEO of Witz Inc Attorneys. Furthermore, he leads the firm’s Media, Entertainment, and Sports Law Department.

Clients will feel reassured by his wide network of legal experts from all around the world. He’s also a recognised fellow of the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law (SAIIPL).

Atty. Shapiro is also a big advocate of efficiency, so he uses high-technology IP management software systems, which we commend. 

This system is useful for tracking changes or updates regarding legislations and managing the client’s IP rights information. 

The only problem previous clients encountered while dealing with Witz Inc Attorneys is their reportedly rude staff. We’re disappointed after having told by clients that they found the receptionists disdainful and dismissive while assisting clients.

4. Sara-Jane Pluke – Eversheds Sutherland

Sara-Jane Pluke – Eversheds Sutherland Homepage


Address: 3rd floor, 54 Melrose Blvd, Melrose North, Johannesburg, 2196, South Africa

Contact Details: +27 10 003 1400

Operating Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Google reviews score4.4/5
Facebook reviews score5/5
Total reviews4.5/5
Score consistency4.5/5
Client support4/5


  • Department head
  • Has experience running her own IP firm
  • Has worked with well-known local and international clients


  • No online appointment setting
  • Inactive client support

Sara-Jane Pluke is one of Eversheds Sutherland’s brilliant lawyers stationed at Melrose North, Johannesburg. We included her in our list for her wealth of experience and a solid track record in intellectual property law.

After completing her LLB at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, she worked for two multinational law firms, where she was also part of each firm’s executive committees.

These committees discussed strategic issues involving global IP, commercial, and regulatory matters. 

After that, she attempted running her own IP firm for several years. And finally, she’s partnered with one of Eversheds Sutherland’s offices in Johannesburg.

Atty. Pluke presently heads Eversheds Sutherland’s intellectual property department. She’s also part of the managing executive committee. 

We love that Atty. Pluke has experienced working with multiple well-known local and international clients. Some of the notable companies she represented are Neotel and Grandmark International.

One thing clients found challenging was reaching out to Atty. Pluke. Eversheds Sutherland is a big global law firm and unfortunately, they only use one website for their whole system, and they don’t allow online appointment setting.

What you can do is either call the office’s number or either show up at the office personally. We think it’ll be more convenient for you to drop by, especially if your case is urgent.

The reason behind this is the handful of grumbles from previous clients about Eversheds Sutherland’s inactive client support. We’re told some have been waiting for weeks now and still haven’t heard back from the firm, which is dispiriting.

5. Ursula Nobulali Fikelepi – Phukubje Pierce Masithela Attorneys Inc.

Ursula Nobulali Fikelepi – Phukubje Pierce Masithela Attorneys Inc. Homepage


Address: 13 St Andrews Rd, Parktown, Johannesburg, 2193, South Africa

Contact Details: +27 11 447 0934

Operating Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Google reviews score4.6/5
Facebook reviews score5/5
Total reviews4.7/5
Score consistency4.5/5
Client support4.5/5


  • 22 years of experience
  • Stellar educational background
  • Reasonable rates
  • Part of a Level 1 BEE certified and women-led firm


  • Sole lawyer handling IP cases
  • More focused on corporate law

Finally, and importantly, we have Ursula Nobulali Fikelepi, a renowned law expert who’s currently a consultant at Phukubje Pierce Masithela Attorneys Inc.

She holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Rhodes, and completed her LLB in the University of Cape Town in 1997. She also took up an LLM in Intellectual Property Law from the University of New Hampshire, USA.

Interestingly, she’s also a fellow at the Southern Africa-United States Center for Public Vales and Cyrus R. Vance Center of the Association of the Bar in New York.

In her 22 years of legal service, she was able to build her name in the field and garner meaningful experience in firms abroad and in South Africa.

Atty. Fikelepi is an expert when it comes to mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, and corporate governance. While she is more focused on corporate and finance law, she’s also well-versed in the matter of intellectual property law. 

She’s actually Phukubje Pierce Masithela Attorneys Inc.’s lead for all IP cases that the firm handles. 

Although we don’t doubt Atty. Fikelepi’s capability, we think it can be challenging for her to handle several IP cases simultaneously, so take note of her schedule and book a consultation ahead.

It’s also with mentioning that Phukubje Pierce Masithela Attorneys Inc. is a Level 1 BEE certified and women-led firm, which we think is empowering, especially for Black women.

Lastly, another thing we like about this law firm is although they don’t have the cheapest rates for legal assistance, they do work hard to provide excellent service at a reasonable price. 

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