Exciting opportunities for firm’s new partner

by Hannah Norton15 Apr 2015
Growth and rapid change are the hallmarks of the technology IP space this year, driven by trends such as the widening of exporting channels with China and alignment of patent laws between Australia and New Zealand.

The changes are something that excite patent and design law specialist Hadleigh Brown, who has just been appointed partner of an Auckland-based ICT and electrical technology patents team of AJ Park.

Brown has worked for the firm for the past 13 years, advising start-ups, SMEs, large corporations, universities, and crown research organisations on how to develop and implement IP protection strategies.

“I’m very excited about the opportunities that partnership offers.”

Focusing primarily on clients that develop and commercialise technologies in the electrical, electronic and ICT technology space, he told NZLawyer he had been lucky to work with a range of diverse and clever businesses, organisations and individuals over the past 13 years.

“It is certainly a fast moving technology space – and growing – and an exciting one to be involved with.”

The firm was seeing growth in Australia with the Sydney office, with new opportunities arising there with the harmonisation of the patents system within Australia and New Zealand.

“Also, with China being a key trading partner of Australia and New Zealand, we are also seeing new opportunities arising for exporters wishing to protect their IP in China, and for Chinese companies wanting to protect their IP in Australasia."

The overhaul of the Patents Act was also producing change in the local IP space.

“We’re seeing more and more patent applications examined under that new Act, and it’s interesting to see how the new law is being interpreted and applied by the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand. I think we are starting to see higher quality patents being granted under the new provisions.

“From a broader viewpoint, patent laws globally are continuing to evolve, particularly in terms of defining and grappling with the boundaries of what can and can’t be protected by a patent.

“So we watch that closely and continue to tweak the bespoke IP protection strategies that we develop for our clients, many of which are exporting and commercialising technologies beyond New Zealand.”

Also appointed to the partnership was Colleen Cavanagh.

The firm was proud to have the pair at the helm, AJ Park managing partner Damian Broadley said.

“Colleen is a natural leader and invaluable to the firm with her exceptional work ethic.

“Hadleigh is a bright, hard-working patent attorney and embodies the AJ Park values as a leader of the firm.”

Other appointments at AJ Park

Craig Rothwell has been appointed as senior associate in the Auckland-based mechanical and electrical patents team, helping clients from businesses of all sizes, as well as working directly with inventors.

The industries he covers include building and construction, manufacturing, industrial design and product development, and medical devices. He helps draft, file and protect patent and design applications in New Zealand, Australia, China, Europe, Japan and the United States.

Also promoted to senior associate position was Katherine Bowker, who has moved quickly up the ranks after joining the firm last July.

She works in the Auckland-based trademarks team, helping local businesses to protect their brand.

Her clients are from all industries, with an emphasis on apparel, fast-moving consumer goods, construction, nutritional supplements, and skin care products.

Catherine Fry, Cici Cui and Nikki Kahn were all promoted to associate.

Catherine Fry works the firm’s litigation team based in Auckland, and helps clients to dissolve issues with IP matters.

 Cici Cui works in the Auckland ICT and electrical patents team, and is part of AJ Park’s dedicated China team, helping businesses protect their assets in the Chinese market.

Nikki Kahn works in the firm’s Auckland mechanical and electrical patents team and helps a range of local clients protect their technologies.

The promotions follow the recent growth of the Sydney team, and two new partners announced last October - Kate McHaffie, and Joe Seisdedos.