AJ Park

IAM Research

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

Highly-recommended - Firms: prosecution

Recommended - Firms: litigation

Following the merger with Baldwins in 2020, AJ Park remains to be the largest IP group in New Zealand by an overwhelming margin. Unmatched in size, the IPH-affiliated specialist outfit has also enjoyed a stellar reputation as the prosecution shop par excellence and stands as one of the region’s elite patent practices. Having recently celebrated its 130th anniversary, it has earned the loyalty of both national household names and global Fortune 500 companies. Home to 84 fee-earners, the scientifically adept contingent offers a wall-to-wall patent service, from drafting, opposition, dispute resolution to licensing. Heading the commercial team is Mark Hargreaves, who dispenses sophisticated strategic advice and licensing agreement counsel. Besides him on the transaction front is ex-Baldwins partner Wes Jones. Drafting, licensing and technology transfer agreements fall within his remit. Their counterparts on the dispute side are Paul Johns and Helen Bellchambers. With almost 20 years of commercial litigation experience under his belt, Johns manages and resolves IP disputes with dexterity. After obtaining a degree in genetics and practising as a barrister and a solicitor, Bellchambers is a member of both the life sciences patents team and dispute resolution team. She is “a trusted legal ally in the plant variety IP protection space”. Maintaining strong relationships with her clients is her forte – she earns rave review from one patron: “Helen proactively provides updates on changing legislation around the world regarding plant variety IP protection and highlighted how these changes may impact on IP strategies.” Working alongside her in the chemical and life sciences sphere are principal Anton Gibson, Jeremy Sim and Duncan de Geest. Practising in the IP field since the 1990s, Gibson is a highly regarded biotech and life sciences IP strategist. Chemical and process engineering specialist Sim has a real affinity for thermodynamics, rheology and distillation inventions. A chemist by trade, De Geest specialises in nanotechnology, material science, medical devices, small-molecule pharmaceuticals and process technology. He cultivates longstanding relationships with an illustrious array of clientele, ranging from multinationals and research institutes to universities in Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America. In the engineering and IT department is Michael Brown, Matt Adams, Chris Way, Andy Locke, Hadleigh Brown, Anton Blijlevens, and David Simunic. Co-heading Wellington’s engineering and IT group, Brown’s practice is a fascinating mix of technical, legal and business acumen. Alongside him is computer scientist Adams, who specialises in protecting, registering and licensing patents in the computer and information technology sectors. Qualified as a patent attorney in the United Kingdom, Europe and Australasia, Way draws judiciously on his experience in Europe to defend the interests of his domestic and overseas service users to the hilt. Previously a patent attorney in the United Kingdom, Locke always prioritises commercial objective of businesses and approaches IP difficulties with utmost pragmatism. A seasoned patent attorney, Brown specialises in all aspects of patent and design law, often extends his practice to devising design-around or risk-mitigation strategies for IP infringement. Mechanical engineer Blijlevens is a trusted adviser for patrons looking to protect and commercialise their innovations. IAM Patent 1000 newcomer Simunic holds a PhD in mechanical engineering and regularly advises some of New Zealand’s largest and best-known manufacturing exporters on international patent law.

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