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Sara-Jane Pluke, Partner

Sara-Jane Pluke



English, Afrikaans

Practice areas

  • Intellectual property
  • Patent litigation
  • Patent services
  • Regulatory investigations and enforcement
  • Technology, Media and Telecoms

Practice notes

Sara-Jane heads up our Intellectual Property department and is a specialist in the field, having trained at one of South Africa’s top rated IP law firms, John & Kernick, which later merged with Bowman Gilfillan. She also served as senior corporate counsel at Sappi and IBM, over a six year period and during which time she sat on the executive and was responsible for wide-ranging global IP, commercial and regulatory matters within each of these organizations. Sara-Jane went on to open her own boutique IP law firm in 2010, until April 2014 when the firm merged with Eversheds Sutherland to become its IP department.

Some of Sara-Jane’s successes include representing a major telecommunications client, Neotel, in successfully defending a competitor complaint brought by iBurst in the Advertising Standards Authority tribunal, against Neotel’s use of the colour Orange as its brand face.

She also successfully represented a leading motor vehicle replacement parts organization, Grandmark International, against a trade mark and design infringement action instituted against it by BMW, where certain declaratory, interdictory and ancillary relief was brought by BMW. The court’s ruling in this matter had the effect of changing the legal interpretation of Section 35 of the Designs Act, 195/1993, as amended. As a result of this judgement, Sara-Jane advises various international intellectual property forums in discussions around trade mark and design protection and enforcement.

Sara-Jane has recently advised and assisted a number of automotive replacement parts organizations in lobbying the Competition Commission and the DTI for the implementation of a Voluntary Code of Conduct for the automotive industry in South Africa, which Code was published for comment in August 2018.

Firm Responsibilities

Sara-Jane sits on the following committees within Eversheds Sutherland:

• Business Development South Africa (Jhb, Durban and Mauritius)

• Jhb Strategy Committee

• Co-Head Africa Group (ESAA – Eversheds Sutherland Africa Alliance)

• IP Steering Committee Global

• INTA Steering Committee Global

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