Bernadette Versfeld
Position: Partner
Practice: Intellectual Property, IT Electronic Business Media and Telecoms
Office: Johannesburg
Telephone: +27 11 530 5404

Bernadette Versfeld is a partner in the Technology, Media, Telecommunications & Intellectual Property Practice at Webber Wentzel.

Bernadette has extensive experience in advising on all aspects of IP. Her practice spans both contentious and non-contentious work, advising local, multi-national and international blue chip clients who operate across all major sectors and some of the world's premier law firms.

Bernadette advises on national and international protection, management and exploitation of IP as well as enforcement strategies with particular focus in African jurisdictions. Bernadette manages many significant IP portfolios, providing clients with all services associated with their trade marks, including filing, prosecution, litigation, transactional work and strategic advice.

Bernadette has been involved in a number of significant litigious IP matters and dispute resolution, in particular, trade mark, design and copyright disputes, passing off and anti-counterfeiting locally and internationally.

Bernadette is an expert in all aspects of commercial intellectual property law and has extensive experience of advising in relation to high-profile and complex corporate transactions relating to the exploitation of IP rights, relating to the monetisation and structuring of IP rights (such as through cross-border licensing, assignments, research and development, global joint ventures, technology transfer and collaboration agreements), IP issues flowing from international acquisitions and disposals, public offerings and corporate reorganisations, international structures and exchange control issues and IP due diligence investigations.

Bernadette has BA and LLB degrees from the University of Johannesburg. She completed her South African Institute of Intellectual Property Trademark, Copyright, Design, Patent and Comparative Trademark examinations, qualifying as a trademark practitioner in 2004.

Her expertise has been recognised by various international research organisations including Chambers Global (Intellectual Property), Legal 500 (Intellectual Property), Legal Experts EMEA, Client Choice and IAM Patent 1000.

Areas of expertise
  • Brand management (non-contentious, contentious and exploitation)
  • Intellectual property audits, due diligences and valuations
  • Local and international trade mark searches, filings, prosecution and recordals (assignments, registered users)
  • Advising on the protection and commercialisation of intellectual property assets(including trade marks, copyright, registered designs, patents and domain names)
  • Securitisation of intellectual property assets and recordal of security interests over intellectual property assets
  • Franchising
  • Trade mark and copyright litigation
  • Domain name litigation
  • Anti-counterfeiting litigation
  • Passing off
  • Unlawful competition
  • Ambush marketing
  • Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) complaints
  • Company and close corporation name objections
  • Highlights
  • Named by:
    • Chambers Global 2015 - 2017 as a ranked lawyer (Intellectual Property).
    • Legal 500 2012 - 2017 as a legal expert (Intellectual Property).
    • Managing Intellectual Property 2010 - 2015.
    • World Trade Mark Review 2012 - 2015.