‘It’s a rare opportunity to represent Nelson Mandela’
INTELLECTUAL property lawyer Don MacRobert is very busy thumping down on counterfeit goods that show logos and trademarks of his highprofile clients being sold by opportunists worldwide aiming to cash in on their names.
MacRobert is proud to be fluent in isiZulu and fairly fluent in isiPedi. He says: “The nicest part about talking those languages is when you’re travelling in a lift and people start talking about you.”
MacRobert, who is also known as Bra Don, takes care of high-profile people such as Ernie Els, Lucas Radebe, Ryk Neethling, Johnny Clegg and Yvonne Chaka-Chaka. He also deals with prominent soccer and rugby teams, including Kaizer Chiefs, Sundowns and the Blue Bulls. He protects them by registering their names to protect them from those who want to exploit their names.
MacRobert has recently done work for Proudly South African. He says: “You won’t believe that certain people from mainland China stick a Proudly South African logo on counterfeit goods. I have to go after that. It’s a real racket.”
He recently represented former President Nelson Mandela and the Mandela Foundation to prevent opportunists marketing Madiba as a commercial brand. MacRobert has taken action against a website registered in Cyprus, which uses Mandela’s name to solicit donations, and a college in the Netherlands offering “Mandela” courses.
He doesn’t charge Mandela for his work, but it costs high-profile people R3 000/hour to consult MacRobert. “I’m very privileged to have represented Mr Mandela,” he says. Over the past 16 months he’s handled 80 matters for the Mandela Foundation. MacRobert is currently a consultant to Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs, as well as Adams & Adams, as an intellectual property lawyer.
Through his association with the Mandela Foundation he considers himself privileged to protect the Mandela name.
MacRobert plans to work part time or retire in three years, after attending the 2010 Soccer World Cup matches in SA.
Besides his career in law, MacRobert has served as a president of the Pretoria Chamber of Commerce. He also serves on the credit committee of the IDC and has done community work in Soweto for 15 years, after setting up the Get Ahead Foundation with Nthato Motlana and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He says that has served to enhance those skills that have benefited him as a lawyer.
MacRobert speaks highly of SA’s judiciary system. “We can be very proud in SA of our legal system, because it’s a strong one. It enables us to get justice in many matters, some of which include high-profile people. I’m privileged to work in a system of justice with high integrity.”¤