Ellis Terry

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.

Recommended - Firms: prosecution

Despite its moderate team size, Ellis Terry is a potent player in the New Zealand patent prosecution space: it prides itself on its great understanding of client needs and expectations, as well as its customer-oriented thinking. Partnering closely with patrons to carry out cast-iron patent protection in the most business-focused, cost-effective way, the acclaimed IP boutique can flexibly accommodate the needs of clients and agents of all sizes and requirements. Electronics, software and mechanical inventions are the fortes of John Terry, who has more than three decades of experience as a patent attorney under his belt. Alongside him are Mathew Campbell and Godfrey Livingstone. Commercially minded Campbell loves helping New Zealand’s small and medium-sized entities to grow, and safeguards their IP assets with dexterity; IAM Patent 1000 debutant Livingstone draws upon his secondment experience in a leading Singapore law firm to help businesses protect their innovations in the engineering field.

Firm Profile

Ellis Terry is an IP firm of patent attorneys and lawyers. We are based in two offices in New Zealand, and operate across New Zealand and Australia.

We deliver results

We pride ourselves on exceeding clients’ expectations and making clients’ lives easier. When clients and agents instruct Ellis Terry, they can expect to deal with attorneys who understand their technology and speak their language.

Unlike many firms in New Zealand and Australia, we are entirely privately owned and operated by the professionals serving clients. This lets us answer directly to our clients, not to investors and corporate shareholders.

Clients and agents frequently remark on how clear and straightforward our advice is. We do not produce academic treatises and meditations on fine legal points: we produce pragmatic advice to help our clients navigate intellectual property.

Hard cases

Ellis Terry takes on the hard cases – the ones that others cannot. For high-value patents and designs, and in any contentious matters in the engineering arts, clients are served by a team of professionals who deeply understand the technology. We are not afraid to pursue matters through tribunals and courts to achieve the results that our clients need. We have acted for clients on a number of cases where the resulting precedent caused the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand and IP Australia to review their practice.

As a boutique firm, we can flexibly accommodate the needs of clients and agents of all sizes and requirements.

  • For our larger corporates and blue-chip clients around the world, we interface with their in-house docketing systems.
  • For our smaller clients, we offer flexible levels of service to accommodate their needs and budgets.
  • For our agents, we can offer expertise on local matters without telling them what they already know.


Ellis Terry regularly handles due diligence and commercial agreements for mergers and acquisitions within New Zealand. We have particular focus on assisting New Zealand companies in moving abroad through acquisition or expansion.

We also have a strong practice in licence negotiations through New Zealand and Australia and have assisted clients in monetising their intellectual property.

All the principals at the firm are dually qualified as lawyers and patent attorneys. This enables us to advise across the full lifecycle of a patent application: starting a simple patent application to broad portfolio building, through to licensing and enforcement. Being a one-stop shop for patents simplifies life for clients.

Contentious matters

Ellis Terry has a robust contentious practice. For clients that wish to enforce their IP rights, or are being targeted for enforcement, we offer advice to help match clients’ risk profiles and preferred outcomes – from quickly and quietly disposing of issues through to litigation as an essential competitive tool.

With many of our clients in our software practice having been targeted by patent trolls, we have significant experience in disposing of patent trolls and establishing systems to mitigate future risk.


As part of our commitment to exceeding expectations, we have developed multiple bespoke systems to validate data and receive near real-time communications from the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand and IP Australia.


For those clients that also require trademark advice, we have a well-regarded trademark team. Our patent and trademark teams closely work together to handle any IP matter that our clients and agents require.

Patent 1000 Analytics
Analytics and insights
Listings in
Recommended Individuals
In-depth analytics for law firm performance
Patent 1000 Analytics tracks the global legal industry to provide you accurate analysis of the firm's performance. Harness deep data, customizable tools and expert insight to guide strategy, streamline decision-making, and accelerate your business generation.

Unlock unlimited access to all IAM content