Grace Nakabugo

Principal Associate at MMAKS Advocates
Ranked in Uganda
WTR Research

The WTR 1000 focuses exclusively on trademark practice and has firmly established itself as the definitive 'go-to' resource for those seeking world-class legal trademark expertise

Bronze - Individuals

“MMAKS has established itself as a premier destination in Uganda for intellectual property” – not least thanks to the service-oriented approach of its technically and legally astute practitioners. “It has command of an impressive portfolio of trademarks”, but contentious scenarios are its meat and drink. With “extensive experience of important enforcement matters across the East African region”, it has also “handled some of Uganda’s biggest branding disputes in recent years” – matters spearheaded by Mathias Ssekatawa, who can effortlessly untangle complex IP knots. Ssekatawa receives invaluable support from managing partner and litigation department co-head Moses Adriko; as a solicitor in the Supreme Court of England and Wales, Adriko brings international standards to his practice. The outfit is further bolstered by young advocate Grace Nakabugo, who demonstrates aptitude beyond her years on protection, enforcement and monetisation briefs, and often teaches on the subject of intellectual property.

Grace Nakabugo's Profile

Grace Nakabugo is a principal associate in the IP team of MMAKS Advocates and the immediate past chair of the Uganda Law Society Intellectual Property Law Cluster. She is an advocate of the High Court of Uganda, a member of the Uganda Law Society and of the East Africa Law Society. Ms Nakabugo is listed as an IP expert by the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation and is a member of the Uganda Registration Services Bureau – Intellectual Property Registry User’s Forum.

She teaches IP law at at university undergraduate level and routinely partners with the national Intellectual Property Office as a facilitator for IP stakeholder engagements. She is a member of the national Geographical Indications Working Group and has also participated in the review of existing and drafting of new IP laws such as the Trademarks Act and Regulations, the Industrial Property Act and Regulations, the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act and the Geographical Indications Act and Regulations.

Ms Nakabugo won the award for Best Female Young Lawyer 2018/19 at the 5th Annual Women in Law Awards of the Uganda Law Society. She holds a master’s in IP law, an LLB (hons) and a post-graduate diploma in legal practice.

Ms Nakabugo specialises and has a breadth of experience in IP law. She represents and advises clients on the creation, registration, maintenance, protection, commercialisation and enforcement of intellectual property. She has acted as counsel in copyright infringement, trademark opposition and cancellation matters, investigations, anti-counterfeiting, trademark infringement and passing off matters for an array of international and local clients.

Firm Profile

MMAKS is a leading, highly specialised corporate and commercial law firm based in Kampala. The firm is one of Uganda’s largest law firms with a total of 25 proficiently trained and highly skilled legal professionals, many of whom have qualifications from international universities, while others have worked at leading international law firms. Two of the firm’s senior partners are qualified solicitors and barristers of the Supreme Court of England and Wales.

MMAKS has a full service offering with teams specialising in strategically carved out practice areas, including intellectual property, litigation, alternative dispute resolution, debt recovery, real estate, banking and finance, employment, and corporate and commercial law.

The firm has been involved in numerous landmark cases in the courts of law in Uganda, and also provided strategic and commercially insightful transactional advice to an array of high-profile local and international entities. MMAKS is committed to delivering practical and quality legal services with professionalism and integrity. The firm adopts a proactive approach to high-quality, timely and efficient legal services, priding itself on open communication, teamwork and client satisfaction.

MMAKS has a dedicated, well-trained and reputable IP team with extensive experience in dealing with trademark matters. The African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation lists the firm’s Grace Nakabugo as an IP expert. MMAKS is a go-to firm for opposition and cancellation matters, IP investigations, counterfeiting, and trademark infringement and passing off suits. The firm also conducts due diligences and advises on structuring of trademark matters in corporate M&A transactions. In collaboration with international and regional IP gateway firms, MMAKS routinely acts as trademark agents/attorneys for a number of foreign and local trademark owners in matters of application, registration and maintenance of their trademarks.

The firm is the official host of the Uganda Law Society Intellectual Property Law Cluster, whose elected chair is a principal associate of MMAKS. The Intellectual Property Law Cluster is the policy, legal think tank and consultative forum of the Uganda Law Society. The cluster represents the Law Society at IP stakeholder engagements and is mandated to track, review and advise the Law Society on legal reforms relating to intellectual property and to contribute to the development of continuous legal education IP programmes for the Law Society members.

MMAKS is a member of the Africa Legal Network (ALN), a leading independent alliance of top-tier African law firms. As a member of the ALN, MMAKS has the ability to draw on the skills and expertise of other ALN member firms. The ALN firms are located in four major regional economic groupings – the East African Community, the Economic Community of West African States, the Southern African Development Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern African – with a combined population of 700 million people. ALN firms are on the ground in some of Africa’s fastest-growing jurisdictions: Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Algeria, Morocco, Guinea and Zambia. The ALN also works closely with affiliates in the United Arab Emirates, Kenya and Mauritius and its associate in South Africa. The ALN network works on a highly integrated basis, as the member firms have worked together for many years and the partners and associates have personal relationships. ALN lawyers are seconded within firms, train together and routinely work together in cross-border groups.

ALN firms share common values and are committed to working together to provide extensive coverage and on-the-ground experience. The group uses a ‘one-stop shop’ approach by leveraging the expertise and skills of each member firm and can thus offer seamless delivery of legal, advisory and transactional services, with a focus on matters of a complex and multi-jurisdictional nature.

Get unlimited access to all WTR content