New Zealand

In New Zealand, some industries have fared better than others during the covid-19 pandemic. The pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors have remained busy throughout this time and patent attorneys say that some inventors have taken advantage of lockdowns to get creative. The country’s patent landscape continues to change, with a slow but steady decline in patent filings in the past decade. In more positive news, AJ Park’s acquisition of Baldwins became the talk of 2020,  continuing the trend of big-ticket mergers along with the emergence of new competitors of all sizes.

Firms: litigation

Firms: prosecution

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

AJ Park

An unstoppable force and the country’s largest IP practice by a wide margin, “pre-eminent” AJ Park has expanded even further by acquiring fellow IP firm Baldwins. The two teams will now work as one to offer unbeatable patent services to an impressive client base. Foreign associates know Anton Blijlevens as an “approachable, extremely capable and reliable patent attorney who can deliver professional services which meet clients’ needs and level of expectation”. Another patron comments on the “thorough and detailed” Michael Brown’s ability to “easily identify key novel and inventive aspects of our engineering technologies” due to his “high level of technical understanding”. Besides arguing with patent examiners in the United States, Europe and Asia and achieving successful outcomes, Brown has demonstrated that he is an excellent role model who can “foster entrepreneurial attitudes in young inventors”. In Wellington, Matt Adams helps to protect the rights of patent owners in the computer and information technology fields as a principal in the engineering and IT team. Mark Hargreaves heads AJ Park’s commercial team while Hadleigh Brown has made a great impression with his “strong electrical and engineering understanding and background knowledge, which can be difficult to find in legal circles”. European, Trans-Tasman and UK-qualified patent attorneys Chris Way and Andy Locke join AJ Park along with fellow former Baldwins colleagues Wes Jones and Paul Johns, experts on portfolio management and contentious matters, respectively.

Catalyst Intellectual Property

Catalyst Intellectual Property offers top-notch patent protection services to companies from New Zealand and across the globe. With a background in chemistry and experience in in-house and in private practice work, Greg Lynch  provides commercial advice that assists service users in reaching their business goals. Peers view John Mansell as “highly respected and capable in the areas of biotechnology, drafting and prosecution work”.

Chapman Tripp

Matt Sumpter is an intelligent litigator with an excellent commercial sense. In fact, he is one of the reasons that Chapman Tripp has become known for housing one of the best contentious practices in the country. The outfit is recognised not only for its deep IP knowledge, but also for its dedication to patrons and to understanding their individual requirements.


A firm that prides itself on its service, CreateIP comprises a compact group of IP professionals who display equal amounts of technical skill and ambition. The practice continues to grow year on year under founder and mechanics and engineering guru Robert Snoep’s leadership. Since the firm’s establishment in 2009, Snoep has focused on guiding businesses every step of the way and assisting with everything from filing to dispute resolution. Further, the group works closely with litigation experts to meet companies’ needs. Shayne Nam holds a doctorate in chemistry and as well as drafting and analysing patents, he prioritises building solid relationships with clientele.

Davies Collison Cave

Australian IP specialist Davies Collison Cave recently extended its reach to New Zealand by opening an office in Wellington. Molecular biology PhD holder Humphrey Foote’s practice is centred around protecting the rights of innovators in the agricultural, horticultural, pastoral, forestry, life science and biotechnology fields. Meanwhile, Scott Sonneman takes care of engineering and IT matters, putting his experience as a software developer and engineer to good use.


The perks of being a part of the world’s largest law practice include access to a vast pool of expertise and resources and clients of Dentons’ New Zealand branch – ranging from start-ups to world-renowned multinationals – certainly benefit from this global reach. The patent group was established in 2018 by Andrew Baker, a New Zealand and Australia-qualified patent attorney whose special expertise lies in medical devices, human and animal healthcare and agribusiness.

Ellis Terry 

Ellis Terry’s expertise in the software, electrical and mechanical engineering space is hard to match. It is no wonder that it is the preferred firm for numerous New Zealand and Australia-based world-leading enterprises in need of comprehensive IP services. Peers hold Ellis Terry’s patent practice in high praise, commending Blayne Peacock for being a “very practical attorney” and his well-regarded colleague John Terry for his “incomparable experience”. “Both have proven capability in drafting and prosecution work, and the firm is known for being a leader in the ICT field.”

Henry Hughes IP

A firmly established IP outfit with a history that dates back more than 130 years, Henry Hughes is a trustworthy ally for patent owners. Having joined as a director in 1991, Frank Callus ensures that all work that comes through the firm meets its strict quality standards. Callus is an experienced biophysicist who comfortably navigates mechanical, chemical and life science spaces.

James & Wells

James & Wells has seen significant growth in the past year, and to keep up with demand it opened up a new office in Wellington after acquiring Brisbane-based firm Innofy IP. Patent owners can rest assured that their patents will be taken care of by some of the best in the business, as the group “really steps up to ensure that everything clients need is done in a timely manner, while walking us through the different processes so we can agree on the next steps”. Jonathan Lucas does not just have “an amazing technical grasp of complex physics and engineering”, his personal qualities also make him a joy to work with. “He is down to earth, kind and friendly and no question is considered trivia. He takes the time to explain all the options in a way that is easy to understand. I highly recommend Jonathan and his team.” Guz Hazel and Ian Finch have contributed to the litigation team’s reputation as diligent professionals who “give clear and timely advice”. Skilled strategist David Macaskill makes his sophomore appearance in IAM Patent 1000 this year while Jason Rogers – head of the life sciences group – joins the rankings for the first time.

Other recommended experts

Jon Ashen and Jo Shaw at Blue Penguin IP are “very experienced practitioners who make light work of drafting and prosecution matters”. Both hold doctorates, with Ashen specialising in biological patents and Shaw on chemical patent issues. Before joining Bowie Yorke, corporate and commercial lawyer Allan Bowie was responsible for setting up the IP team at MinterEllisonRuddWatts and the commercial team at AJ Park. Former senior director of intellectual property and contracts at Inotek Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Jane Calvert of In-Legal wields a PhD in organic chemistry. Her colleague Julie Balance’s list of clients includes global corporations in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Jim Piper, founder of Pipers, is a dedicated IP lawyer who celebrated 50 years in the field in 2020. Richard Watts captains the “top notch intellectual property team” at Simpson Grierson which “focuses on particularly high-quality work. They are excellent for their commerciality and never fail to meet clients’ needs and expectations”.

Individuals: litigation

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

Individuals: prosecution

  • 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
  • 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
  • Jason Rogers - James & Wells
  • Jo Shaw - Blue Penguin IP
  • Robert Snoep - CreateIP
  • Scott Sonneman - Davies Collison Cave
  • John Terry - Ellis Terry
  • Chris Way - Baldwins

Individuals: transactions

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