I'm Owen

intellectual property
lawyer and author


Owen consults, gives advice,  prepares written Opinions, creates documentation and provides in-court advocacy services in relation to intellectual property law.

As an IP specialist, Owen has represented clients since 1985, litigating in all divisions of the High Court, the Commissioner of Patents, the Registrar of Trade Marks, the Copyright Tribunal, the Advertising Regulatory Board, the Supreme Court of Appeal, the Constitutional Court in arbitrations and mediation.

As a Senior Adjudicator on the panel of the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law (SAIIPL) for domain name disputes, Owen has delivered numerous seminal judgments both as a single and as an appeal panelist.  He has served as an acting Judge in the High Court and sits as an arbitrator. He is a commercial mediator accredited by Conflict Dynamics. For over a decade, Owen was the External Moderator of the trade mark law examination for SAIIPL. He has lectured on the LLM programme at University of Johannesburg and moderates trade mark, patent and copyright examinations for that degree. He has given guest lectures in trade mark law and copyright law at Stellenbosch University and UCT. Owen has published numerous articles and academic papers in relation to intellectual property law. 

He is married to Isabeau, who is a musician. Their eldest son, Pierre, is a thermodynamics engineer working in F1 in the UK. Their second son, Dion, is a CA working in corporate finance in London, and their daughter, Margaux, is a development and environmental science graduate of Stellenbosch University, working in the UK.

  • BA LLB LLM (Intellectual Property)
  • Senior Counsel for the Republic of South Africa
  • Fellow of the South African Institute for Intellectual Property Law
  • Attorney of the High Court of South Africa (1985 – 1992)
  • Advocate of the High Court of South Africa (1992 to date)
  • Member of the Johannesburg Bar
  • Senior Adjudicator for Domain Disputes
  • Accredited Commercial Mediator (Conflict Dynamics)

the best that I can

(The motto of Owen’s primary school in Gwelo, Rhodesia – and his personal maxim ever since.)

Throughout his career, Owen has advised and litigated to protect the intellectual property rights of  these entities – and many others.

Absa Bank   ●   Accelerate Property Fund   ●   African Revolutions   ●   Auto Trader   ●   Automotive Tooling Systems   ●   Aveng Africa   ●   BASF   ●  Beacon Sweets & Chocolates   ●   Black & Decker   ●   Blockbuster Entertainment Corporation   ●   BMW   ●   Bokomo Cooperative   ●   Browns Jewellers   ●   Caxton Group of Publishers   ●   Choice Hotels International   ●   Cipla Medpro   ●   Clover SA   ●   Coca Cola Company   ●   Cochrane Steel Products   ●   Col’Cacchio Restaurants   ●   CompTia Inc   ●   Dis-Chem   ●  Ditsong – Museums of SA   ●  Ecolab   ●   Ellies Electronics   ●   Enersul   ●   First National Bank   ●   Gallo Music Publishers   ●   GlaxoSmith Kline   ●   Global Roofing Solutions   ●   Golden Fried Chicken   ●   Growthpoint Properties   ●   Honda Motor Corporation   ●   Hugo Boss   ●   Imperial Cold Storage   ●   Interpark SA   ●   La Liga   ●   Medford Pharmaceuticals   ●   Mercedes-Benz   ●   Metso Minerals   ● Mitsui & Co   ●   M-Net   ●   Motion Picture Association   ●   Namib Mills   ●   National Association of Broadcasters   ●   National Brands   ●   New Balance Athletic Shoes   ●   Nintendo Company   ●   Online Lottery Services   ●   Paym8   ●   Pepkor   ●   Pioneer Foods   ●   Plasticolors   ●   Proctor & Gamble   ●   Ralf Schmitt   ● Salomon  ●    Sid Forman Jewellery   ●   Stadium Management SA   ●   Ster Kinekor   ●  St Gobain   ●  STX Music Publishing   ●   Supercart SA   ●   SuperSport International   ●   The Apartheid Museum  ●  The North Face   ● The Registrar of Trade Marks   ●   Transunion   ●   Tsogo Sun   ● University of Johannesburg ●  Vans Inc   ●  Warner Brothers   ●   Yuppie Gadgets  ●   ZA Central Registry

He has been entrusted to do so by the following attorneys  – amongst others.

Adams & Adams   ●   Baker McKenzie   ●  Berdou Attorneys   ●  Bouwers   ●   Bowmans  ●   Darren Margo Attorneys   ●   Dewey Hertzberg Levy  ●   Don MacRobert  ●   ENS  ●   Eversheds   ●   Fairbridges   ●   Friedland Hart Solomon Nicholson  ●  Glyn Marais   ●   Hahn & Hahn  ●  Hogan Lovells   ●  Ian Levitt Attorneys   ●  Irish MacLeod   ●  Jeff Boulton Attorneys   ●  Jordaan & Wolberg   ●  Kisch IP   ●  Knowles Husain Lindsay   ●   Macrobert  ●   Mark Saltzman Attorneys   ●   Martin Brauer Attorneys   ●  Martin Hood & Associates  ●   McCallum, Rademeyer & Freimond   ●    Norton Rose Fulbright ●   Kampel Kaufmann Attorneys  ●   Pierce Phukubje Matjiela   ●   Rademeyer Attorneys   ● Ramsay Webber   ●  Robin Twaddle Attorneys   ●  Rod Christie   ●   Ron Wheeldon Attorneys   ●   Savage Jooste & Adams   ●   Schindlers  ●  Smit Sewgoolam   ●   Spoor & Fisher   ●   Von Seidels  ●   Webber Wentzel  ●    Werksmans



Law Made Simple - Compliance for Business, Citizens and our Government

The first edition of this work, titled Lawful Living, was honoured with an endorsement by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. The 2nd edition, revised and updated, is available from Protea Books - see www.proteabooks.com. The open source version is accessible at www.lawfulliving.co.za

Intellectual Property Made Simple

Written for the layman and non-specialist practitioners, this work explains the basics of copyright, designs, patents and trade mark law in easily understood terminology. The book has received several endorsements from leading IP jurists, academics and business executives. It was published by Siber Ink Publishers in January 2021 and is available from leading bookstores, Takealot and Loot.


  • A Precedent Created in Company Name Objections, published in De Rebus, July 1986.
  • Restraints of Trade and Goodwill of a Business, published in Businessman’s Law, August 1989 (Juta).
  • The Case of the Stripped-down Sittable: Copying the Competition, published in Businessman’s Law, December 1990 (Juta).
  • 2001 – a Trade Mark Odyssey, published in De Rebus, June 2002.
  • When is use of a trade mark not trade mark use?, published in De Rebus, June 2009.
  • Casting s15 (3A) of the Copyright Act into Outer Darkness, published in Without Prejudice, February 2012.
  • Arbitrating Intellectual Property Disputes, published in Without Prejudice, March 2013.
  • Encounters of a fast kind – Formula 1, trade secrets and the law, published in Without Prejudice, April 2013.
  • Intellectual Property and the SCA (Part 1), published in Without Prejudice, October 2017.
  • Intellectual Property and the SCA (Part 2), published in Without Prejudice, November 2017.
  • The case of the interdict for which the Plaintiff did not ask, published in Without Prejudice, June 2020,

academic papers

  • Judicial Discretion in Sentencing, published in Criminal Justice in South Africa (Juta) 1983.
  • Dilution as a Rationale for Trade Mark Protection in South African Law, published in South African Law Journal November 1987.
  • Statutory trade mark infringement and questions about confusion, published in Intellectual Property Law Journal, 2019 (Juta).

Owen loves sport. Although no longer a runner,  Owen completed 5 Comrades Marathons,  several marathons and other ultra’s. He has swum Midmar, competed in a number of triathlons and tri-relays and raced a few 947’s, Amashova, and several others.  Owen has played tennis his whole life and is a Taekwon-do First Dan black belt. He was a founding Director of South African Taekwon-Do Association NPC, the National Association  for the International Taekwon-do Federation. Owen’s biggest sporting challenge is to get to the golf course.

His other big love is music. His father being a highly experienced organist, choirmaster and composer , Owen grew up in a musical milieu. He is an avid listener with wide tastes. He played clarinet and guitar from early teenage years. For over ten years he played lead guitar in a six-piece band he founded, performing 60’s – 80’s hits for parties, weddings and corporate functions. The band undertook three tours of the Cape, played countless gigs and cut two CD’s. Owen has a collection of several guitars and still plays.

Owen rises early to take a walk and  then meditate before breakfast.  He cycles or gyms in the evening.



Owen accepts briefs on professional matters only from practising attorneys.
For enquiries relating to his books, and for workshops, lectures, and presentation of papers on intellectual property law, use the form below.