People and places

In-depth analysis


Asia IP trademark firm of the year for New Zealand in 2019 AJ Park houses a leading IP practice for both contentious and non-contentious works, further boosted by its acquisition of Baldwins in October 2020. Thus, in addition to its already dynamic team of lawyers led by Wellington-based principal Damian Broadley, the firm’s capabilities have been heightened with the addition of former attorneys from Baldwins, which was named 2019 Asia IP copyright firm of the year for New Zealand. These lawyers include Penny Catley and Thomas Huthwaite for trademarks; Wes Jones and Chris Way for patents; and Paul Johns for copyright. Sarah Barclay, who specializes in patent, design and related IP law, has been promoted to principal while Andrea Dickens has taken the role of managing director. AJ Park itself is part of IPH Limited, the intellectual property company holding company.

Full-service firm Anthony Harper has offices in Auckland and Christchurch, from which it provides advice across the spectrum of intellectual property work. It offers services in IP transactions, commercialization of IP, trademarks, disputes and enforcement, IP advisory, data protection and privacy. One of its key practitioners is partner Mark Gavin, who has extensive experience in IP litigation. Michael Moyes has left Anthony Harper to join Duncan Cotterril, also in Auckland.

The IP team at Bell Gully has done work for notable clients such as Danone and Sony. The firm has a sound reputation for its contentious work. Partners Alan Ringwood and Dean Oppenhuis are primary contacts for IP matters. Former partner Ian Gault has been sworn in as a judge of the High Court of New Zealand.

General practice law firm Buddle Findlay offers both contentious and non-contentious work with an emphasis on trademarks and copyright matters. The firm also handles patent advisory, dispute resolution and litigation work, and carries out anti-counterfeiting actions as well as provides transactional support to IP owners. Partner John Glengarry, a specialist intellectual property lawyer with extensive experience both in New Zealand and overseas, heads up the trademark team and co-leads the IP practice. British American Tobacco and Yahoo! are counted among the firm’s clients.

Boutique firm Catalyst Intellectual Property, named as Asia IP patent firm of the year for New Zealand in 2019, houses a small but well-experienced team of professionals. With the technical backgrounds of its partners, the firm has developed particular strength in patent work. Greg Lynch is a registered patent attorney with expertise in chemistry. Garth Hendry is another key contact for patents. Britta Fromow has left the firm to join James & Wells. 

Chapman Tripp is a full-service firm with 56 partners and a team of over 200 staff in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The IP practice’s notable work includes representing Twentieth Century Fox in copyright litigation over geo-blocking circumnavigation technology, and acting as counsel for global industrial player Allegion to defend patent infringement allegations in a three-week High Court trial. Partner Matt Sumpter is a key contact noted for his work in IP, competition law and civil litigation. 

CreateIP has considerable expertise in the management and commercialization of IP assets. It advised the Motion Picture Association of America, Microsoft (on its anti-piracy and copyright enforcement programme) and Starbucks, among others. The firm was founded by partner Robert Snoep, a Christchurch-based registered patent attorney who specializes in mechanics and engineering. In September 2020, partner Pip England was appointed as the firm’s new chief executive partner, taking over from Nick Wells. He will assume the position in February 2021.

Dentons and Kensington Swan in New Zealand have combined to form Dentons Kensington Swan. With new offices in Auckland and Wellington, Dentons can now connect clients to a team of more than 100 lawyers in New Zealand who can meet the needs of clients across a wide range of industries. Kensington Swan had acted for Micro Mobility in defending its well-known trademark Micro and for the New Zealand Drag Racing Authority in a High Court proceeding regarding its event name. Partners Jenni Rutter, Charlotte Henley and Hayley Miller are key contacts.

IP boutique Ellis Terry has offices in Auckland and Wellington, and provides a full suite of IP advice throughout New Zealand. Its software and electronics patent practice is one of the largest in New Zealand. Director John Terry is an established patent practitioner; director Blayne Peacock is a highly-regarded patent attorney. Director Emily Ellis is a key contact for branding and copyright matters. Among the firm’s top-performing lawyers in recent years are principals Mathew Campbell for patent prosecution and Rachael Koelmeyer for trademark prosecution and trademark contentious. 

Henry Hughes has a medium-sized team that delivers top-quality service, especially for prosecution work. Director Frank Callus, a registered patent attorney in New Zealand and Australia and also qualified in the UK and the European Union, is known for his patent work and expertise in chemistry and pharmaceuticals. Former director Barbara Sullivan has left the firm. 

Hudson Gavin Martin focuses on trademarks and designs. Based in Auckland, it has done notable work for Sony, A88 and Intel; many of its clients are from the FMCG, fashion and advertising sectors. Founding partner Mark Gavin left the firm in February 2018. 

James & Wells is a strong boutique player in New Zealand. Christchurch-based co-founding partner Ceri Wells is known for his work in the Society of Beer Advocates case against DB Breweries, and served as a past president for the New Zealand Institute of Patent Attorneys. Hamilton-based partner Ian Finch is a key contact for litigation. The firm’s trademark team in Auckland is led by partner Carrick Robinson, who also has a focus in food & beverage innovation and related IP implications. Other key practitioners are Jonathan Lucas and Jason Rogers in the patent practice, and Gus Hazel for copyright. Britta Fromow, formerly of Catalyst IP, has joined the firm as a consultant.

The IP team at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts has been growing under leadership of partner Chris Young. “He is very knowledgeable in the area of New Zealand intellectual property law, and he consistently provides excellent value for money and is very personable,” says a client who has worked with him for more than five years. Other contacts include partner Richard Wells, a commercial lawyer with particular expertise in technology, media and telecommunications law, intellectual property, commercial contracting and sport.

Pipers is a boutique IP specialist based in Auckland and Wellington. Founder and principal Jim Piper is a qualified patent attorney in both New Zealand and Australia and a well-connected litigator who has been working with international companies, universities and government departments. Ian Cockburn is another key contact for patent matters.

Simpson Grierson has a strong IP practice. The firm’s trademark prosecution work is particularly praised. Sony, Coca-Cola, Google and Novartis, etc. are among its notable clients. Partner Richard Watts, known for his trademark enforcement and border protection actions, heads the IP group. Sarah Chapman is a leading practitioner.

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