Hahn & Hahn was founded by Dr. W A Hahn who arrived in South Africa from Europe during 1948 where he had previously been engaged for 20 years in the multinational chemical industry as a patent expert. While qualifying as a South African patent agent, Dr. Hahn was engaged in conducting international license negotiations for the South African Coal, Oil and Gas corporation Ltd. (SASOL) and setting up SASOL’s patent and documentation department, initially under his full time direction.
In 1951 Dr Hahn founded his own firm, Dr W.A. Hahn, at Pretoria where the South African Patents and Trade Marks Office and Courts are situated. For some years the firm continued to manage SASOL’s patent department on a part time basis. In building up the firm Dr. Hahn re-established his past (mostly pre-war) contacts with industry and colleagues all over the world.
After completing his doctorate during 1957 in oil and coal chemistry and technology at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany, Dr. H.H. Hahn joined the firm as a full time assistant, qualifying as a patent agent in 1959. During 1961 he became a partner of the firm which was renamed Drs. W.A. Hahn & H.H. Hahn. From these beginnings the firm grew steadily and continues to do so.
Hans Hahn was an international intellectual property adviser to several multinational companies. His technical fields of experience include chemistry (including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, petrochemistry); chemical engineering; conventional and alternative energy; natural and synthetic oils; bituminous substances; wood and pulp technologies; mining, prospecting, and mineral beneficiation; metallurgy; separation methods and apparatus; ecology; energy saving and industrialised buildings.
Hans was also a leader in the field of technical translations and is fluent in English, German, Afrikaans and Dutch, while having a reading knowledge of French.
During the period in which Hans was active at Hahn & Hahn, Hahn & Hahn expanded into a fully fledged Africa practice and files patent and trade mark applications in ARIPO, OAPI, South Africa, Angola, Nigeria, Egypt and other African countries.
In September 1993 Hahn & Hahn merged with South Africa’s largest general law firm Webber Wentzel Bowens. During 1996, however, a decision was taken to reconstitute the specialised intellectual property law firm of Hahn & Hahn so as to enable it to independently pursue those activities it knows best. These include the registration and protection of intellectual and other property rights on behalf of its national and international clients and associates and the provision of expert and practical advice regarding intellectual property, international trade and the environment.