Monday, 18 February 2013

Leading African patent firms of 2013..... according to MIP


Billed as the largest ever survey, the Managing Intellectual Property (MIP) Magazine has published its first annual IP survey results of leading law firms practising IP law in various jurisdictions for the year 2013. This publication (February issue) is dedicated to those leading in patent prosecution and contentious work as ranked by IP practitioners across the globe. The results for trade mark and copyright will be published in March and April issues, respectively.

Thanks to the free limited access, this Leo was able to view the patent survey results (may well end up being the same for trade mark and copyright). So, which African countries and law firms made the list? In country alphabetical order (without the tier hierarchy, subscribe to view this), here are the featured leading firms in patent law and practice across Africa:

Egypt: Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property (AGIP); Haroun & Haroun (no website found); Hoda Abdel Hadi & PartnersA. Sadek Elias Law OfficeSaba & Co Intellectual Property; Ibrachy & DermarkarHelmy, Hamza & Partners (part of Baker & McKenzie international); Shalakany Law Office; and SNR Denton (Africa Practice).

KenyaKaplan & StrattonHamilton Harrison & Mathews;  Iseme, Kamau & Maema Advocates (part of DLA Piper Group);  Ndungu Njoroge & Kwach Advocates (no website found); Coulson HarneyDaly & Figgis, AdvocatesGichachi & Company Advocates; and Simba & Simba Advocates.

MoroccoAbu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property (AGIP)Saba & Co Intellectual PropertyM. Mehdi Salmouni-Zerhouni (English website still under construction); Cabinet AksimanMorocco Intellectual Property ServicesNJQ & Associates; and Saud M A Shawwaf Law Office and Abu Setta & Partners (SMAS-IP);

NigeriaAllan & OgunkeyeJackson, Etti & EduDavid Garrick Kayode & CoO. Kayode & CoAdepetun Caxton-Martins Agbor & SegunAluko & OyebodeBentley Edu & CoGeorge Ikoli & Okagbue; and Banwo & Ighodalo.

South AfricaAdams and Adams AttorneysSpoor & FisherD M KischHahn & HahnVon SeidelsDessington de BeerDr. Gerntholtz Inc Patent LawyersMcCallum Rademeyer & FreimondBrian Bacon & AssociatesEdward Nathan Sonnenbergs (ENS); Galgut & Galgut; and Smit & Van Wyk.

Tunisia: Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property (AGIP); Cabinet Sarah Hachaichi (no website found); Al-Mensi Law Firm (no website found); Cabinet Gueblaoui (no website found); Achour Law Firm (no website found); Saud M A Shawwaf Law Office and Abu Setta & Partners (SMAS-IP); Amani IP (no website found); Ben Salem Law Firm (no website found); and La Centrale Des Avocats Tunisiens.

Commentary
This Leo can extract three observations from this survey. First, by now you should know that Afro Leo likes to see an organisation with an online public image (corporate website and/or social media presence) and he is not surprised that nearly all of the above firms do, at least, have corporate websites. 

Second is that renowned international law firms have now formed some form of partnership or the other with some of these local firms (one or two appear as official branches). This trend, in this Leo's view, is expected to continue considering the positive economic growth figures posted by certain African countries and the increasing and available corporate/commercial work or transactions to be done. 

Third and final is that the survey features just six (6) out of fifty four (54) countries in Africa, namely: Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa and Tunisia. (The obvious bunch?) No wonder MIP had this caveat in its editorial: "The survey is not an exhaustive list of every firm in each jurisdiction..." (Certainly, says Afro Leo. He knows that there are other law firm(s) with IP practice out there, especially, in all or most of the remaining 48 African countries not featured). 

No doubt, the above firms are well-known in their respective countries and even beyond. In fact, a few of them have featured and/or contributed to this blog (Afro Leo is never satisfied; he wants more contributions even if it means doing so anonymously. So share those exciting IP cases with the rest of the world). Having said that, we need to go beyond the above list since there are other law firms with IP practice across the continent whose outstanding practitioners equally make up our readership and the little but ever-growing African IP community. 

Opportunity?
Afro-IP invites its readers to send us the names of these firms (your firm or another, including websites for verification purposes) as we are contemplating on featuring all the firms with IP practice across Africa in an A-Z country series. To make it worthwhile, the list would be published only if we can get enough names (especially those with websites) across a considerable number of countries. You may also include the name of a key practitioner within the firm - if you know.

Please send your suggestions here with the subject line "List of African IP law firms".
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Global technology companies have their eyes on Africa, see here

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