New Zealand

In recent years, New Zealand’s patent scene has seen some interesting expansion involving Australian and global inbound investment and, most recently, outbound investment to Australia. Notable developments include global juggernaut Dentons setting up a patents team in Auckland in 2018, James & Wells acquiring Brisbane firm Innofy and Australian player Davies Collison Cave opening a Wellington branch in 2019. Meanwhile, the country has also seen the establishment of smaller practices such as Blue Penguin.

Firms: litigation

  • AJ Park
  • Baldwins
  • Chapman Tripp
  • Ellis Terry
  • James & Wells

Firms: prosecution

  • AJ Park
  • Baldwins
  • Catalyst Intellectual Property
  • CreateIP
  • Davies Collison Cave 
  • Dentons
  • Ellis Terry
  • Henry Hughes IP
  • James & Wells

AJ Park

Offering the full suite of patent services in a multitude of technology fields, New Zealand’s largest IP firm is also “the best in New Zealand owing to its unparalleled professionalism and high levels of personal engagement” on the part of its attorneys. Exhibiting “genuine interest in people’s innovation and commercialisation journeys”, the Auckland-based Anton Blijlevens comes highly recommended not only for his “excellent drafting and ability in demystifying how patents work”, but also for successfully maintaining a supportive and responsive team. He is always plugged into the international patent world, “maintaining a great network of suitable top-notch foreign associates and always abreast of global trends and case laws”. Like Blijlevens, Michael Brown read mechanical engineering at the University of Canterbury; he captains the Wellington engineering and information, communications and technology (ICT) team together with Matt Adams. In the same bureau, Mark Hargreaves helms the commercial team, which makes light work of bringing the inventions of start-ups and listed companies, as well as government departments and research institutes, to market. A fount of knowledge for all things high tech, Hadleigh Brown is a versatile operator comfortable handling a wide range of technology from sensors to smartphone apps. Traversing the electrical and mechanical engineering spaces, Greg West-Walker is as adept a drafter as he is an enforcer of patents. When it comes to life sciences briefs, Anton Gibson fronts the Auckland office, while Wellington-based litigator Kate McHaffie rounds off the squad with her special ability to tackle contentious conundrums involving pharmaceutical inventions.

Baldwins

At the core of Baldwins Intellectual Property – an engineering standout – is an ardent emphasis on cosmopolitanism. Notwithstanding the ability to communicate in 18 languages, its stable of attorneys possess qualifications and backgrounds from Australia, Europe, China and India. Both Chris Way and Andy Locke are European, Trans-Tasman and UK-qualified patent attorneys. “Way is extremely easy to communicate and work with and offers unambiguous and practical advice to complicated problems,” while Locke is an authority on freedom to operate and infringement issues. Wes Jones and Sean Brogan offer complementary skillsets when it comes to commercialisation – Jones is a is a patent attorney and Brogan a corporate lawyer. Finally, dispute resolution group leader Paul Johns saves the day when things get contentious.

Catalyst Intellectual Property

Catalyst Intellectual Property works with a wide range of entities to realise the full potential of patent portfolios. Chemistry guru Greg Lynch combines the perspectives gained through his in-house and private practice experience to holistically advise clients on leveraging patents for commercial ends. Like Lynch, John Mansell possesses a life sciences doctorate. He has been advising Australasian clients for over 15 years.

Chapman Tripp

Chapman Tripp has amassed incredible credentials and reviews as a leading contentious patent practice. “Smart, practical and cooperating seamlessly with foreign legal teams, Chapman Tripp lawyers provide an excellent service that is always three steps ahead of their counterparts on the other side.” Matt Sumpter is described as extremely smart. “He takes the effort to understand the client’s business to provide the best remedies, but the talent runs deep with the firm’s associates and senior associates operating above par.”

CreateIP

CreateIP’s technical excellence and personal service are just part of its recipe for success. Growing in tandem with its clients, lately it recorded a spike in contentious mandates complementing its impressive year-on-year growth. Robert Snoep has been steering the firm with a steady hand since he founded it in 2009; mechanics and engineering are his chosen field of expertise. With a PhD in chemistry, Shayne Nam has a natural affinity not just for drafting and analysing patents, but also for cultivating deep and long-lasting client relationships.

Davies Collison Cave 

Davies Collison Cave comes highly recommended for patent prosecution in Australia, which recently expanded its New Zealand presence with a new office in Wellington. Armed with a PhD in molecular biology, Humphrey Foote is skilled at leveraging patents and plant variety and breeders’ rights to cover agricultural, horticultural, pastoral, forestry, life science and biotechnology inventions. Senior associate Scott Sonneman is an engineering and ICT maven with an equally broad practice, thanks to his experience as an engineer and software developer.

Dentons

Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, recently merged with Kensington Swan in 2019. However, its New Zealand patents team was established in the preceding year by Andrew Baker – an excellent patent drafter and IP strategist especially when it comes to the agricultural and healthcare sectors. Also qualified as a barrister and solicitor, Baker is a smart choice for patent opposition and revocation litigations.

Ellis Terry

IP boutique Ellis Terry enjoys a stellar reputation, especially in the software, electrical and mechanical engineering space. As well as patent prosecutions, the firm is routinely entrusted with due diligence and the IP work in M&A transactions. Lately, Mathew Campbell was elevated to partnership to augment the practice. With 20 years of practice under his belt, former Marks & Clerk partner in Singapore Blayne Peacock has substantial experience prosecuting and litigating patents in New Zealand. A patent attorney who has dedicated three decades to the trade, John Terry is also a consummate consultant, adept at identifying and fulfilling the IP needs of venture capitalists and high-net worth individuals.

Henry Hughes IP

Enjoying an illustrious history that spans 130 years, Henry Hughes is a prudent choice for inventors and patent owners. It has in place stringent quality control processes ensuring that each piece of work gets reviewed by a highly experienced principal, such as Frank Callus. The biophysics man is a versatile attorney operating across the mechanical, chemical and life science spaces and is highly respected in the New Zealand IP community.

James & Wells

Having substantially expanded its practice through organic growth and the buyout of Brisbane-based Innofy IP, James & Wells emerges as a leading independent IP firm in Australasia, which combines “top-notch legal advice and technical excellence”. At the helm of the Auckland and Hamilton patents team is Jonathan Lucas whose physics background strikes a chord with clients in a wide range of technological fields. Senior associate David Macaskill earns a place in the IAM Patent 1000 this year thanks to his involvement in IP due diligence exercises for high-stakes acquisition and investment projects. Linchpins of the litigation team, Gus Hazel and Ian Finch “work seamlessly with technical experts on complex, contentious mandates to achieve success and think strategically in defending patent portfolios”.

Other recommended experts

At Blue Penguin IP, former USPTO and IP Office of New Zealand patent examiner Jon Ashen is an expert in biological patent matters, with a PhD in marine molecular biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz to back him up. His colleague Jo Shaw also holds a PhD, in addition to her qualifications as a New South Wales solicitor and a New Zealand barrister and solicitor; an authority on organic chemistry, she is also a dab hand when it comes to commercialisation. Allan Bowie is a corporate and commercial lawyer at Bowie Yorke. Highlights of his private practice career include establishing AJ Park’s commercial team and setting up the IP team at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts. In-Legal’s Jane Calvert has a PhD in organic chemistry and was previously senior director of intellectual property and contracts at Inotek Pharmaceuticals Corporation in Boston, while fellow principal Julie Ballance is the darling of multinational, pharmaceutical and chemical companies. Pipers founder Jim Piper is a guiding light in the New Zealand profession, who has dedicated himself to intellectual property for half a century. Richard Watts is IP head at Simpson Grierson – his patent practice primarily involves acquiring, enforcing, litigating and commercialising intellectual property for the crème de la crème of Australasian and global corporates.

Individuals: litigation

  • Ian Finch - James & Wells
  • Matt Sumpter - Chapman Tripp
  • Gus Hazel - James & Wells
  • Paul Johns - Baldwins
  • Kate McHaffie - AJ Park
  • Blayne Peacock - Ellis Terry
  • Richard Watts - Simpson Grierson

Individuals: prosecution

  • Matt Adams - AJ Park
  • Jon Ashen - Blue Penguin IP
  • Andrew Baker - Dentons
  • Julie Ballance - In-Legal Ltd
  • Anton Blijlevens - AJ Park
  • Hadleigh Brown - AJ Park
  • Michael Brown - AJ Park
  • Frank Callus - Henry Hughes IP
  • Jane Calvert - In-Legal Ltd
  • Humphrey Foote - Davies Collison Cave
  • Anton Gibson - AJ Park
  • Wes Jones - Baldwins
  • Andy Locke - Baldwins
  • Jonathan Lucas - James & Wells
  • Greg Lynch - Catalyst Intellectual Property
  • John Mansell - Catalyst Intellectual Property
  • Shayne Nam - CreateIP
  • Blayne Peacock - Ellis Terry
  • Jim Piper - Pipers
  • Jo Shaw - Blue Penguin IP
  • Robert Snoep - CreateIP
  • Scott Sonneman - Davies Collison Cave
  • John Terry - Ellis Terry
  • Chris Way - Baldwins
  • Greg West-Walker - AJ Park

Individuals: transactions

  • Allan Bowie - Bowie Yorke
  • Sean Brogan - Baldwins
  • Mark Hargreaves - AJ Park
  • David Macaskill - James & Wells
  • Blayne Peacock - Ellis Terry
  • Richard Watts - Simpson Grierson