South Africa - Country Commercial Guide
Protecting Intellectual Property
Last published date:


South Africa has laws to protect intellectual property rights, including the Copyright Act and the Performers’ Protection Act.  There is a long-standing legislative effort to amend and modernize these acts, and stakeholder perspectives vary on whether the amendments would be improvements.  Authorities are active in enforcing intellectual property rights and are generally effective.  Patent law is very well developed. 

US Patent and Trademark Office In any foreign market companies should consider several general principles for effective management of their intellectual property. For background on these principles please link to the following article on Protecting Intellectual Property and, or contact ITA’s Office of Intellectual Property Rights Director, Stevan Mitchell at

Guidelines appear here:

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has a team leader for the Sub-Saharan Africa region:

JoEllen Urban

Senior Trade Advisor

Office of Policy and International Affairs

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Tel:  571-272-8498

Email:  JoEllen.urban@USPTO.GOV


For additional information on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, visit the U.S.  Investment Climate Statement website.


Please see the section on corruption in the Investment Climate Statement referenced below.


New-to-market U.S. companies should insist on extensive due diligence to minimize risks of new partnerships and transactions.