New Zealand: New president of NZ Institute of Patent Attorneys appointed
Last Updated: 18 February 2012

Ian Finch, Managing Partner of James & Wells Intellectual Property, has been appointed President of the New Zealand Institute of Patent Attorneys (NZIPA).

The NZIPA is an incorporated body representing most patent attorneys registered under the New Zealand Patents Act who are resident and practising in New Zealand.

Ian Finch, who has previously been NZIPA vice-president, is a supervising partner of James & Wells Intellectual Property's Auckland patents team and national litigation team, and was recently named in Intellectual Asset Management magazine's IAM Patent 1000: The World's Patent Practitioners.

He was elected at the NZIPA annual general meeting late last year.

According to Ian Finch, the NZIPA – which celebrates its centenary this year – is thriving due to a strong membership and young, proactive council. He aims to ensure it maintains its position as a key voice in important discussions around IP law in New Zealand.

"Strong patent law and IP strategy are critical components in New Zealand's drive to become an export-driven and clean-tech based economy".

"Patents specialists and their clients need to have an effective professional voice to ensure a legal and regulatory framework is in place which allows this country's most innovative people and companies to be able to succeed on the local and global stage," says Ian Finch.

"There are some crucial issues the NZIPA is involved in which need to be resolved, including the future of the patent attorney profession in New Zealand under proposed trans-Tasman regulation, and the painfully slow progress of the Patents Bill 2008."

Ian Finch says the impact of the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011 (the so called 'Skynet law'), and New Zealand's accession to the Madrid System for the International Registration of Trade Marks, are other areas the NZIPA is actively monitoring on behalf of members and clients.

As a key stakeholder, NZIPA expects to make a submission when the schedules to the Skynet law are reviewed this year.

He says the Madrid Protocol marks a significant change in New Zealand trade mark law and will align this country's regime closer to Australia (which has implemented the Protocol some years ago), and also simplify it.

"Probably the most important issue at the moment is to gain clarity around the Government's program for joint regulation of the Australian and New Zealand patent professions and its influence on the non progress of the Patents Bill. The NZIPA is calling for this to happen as a priority in the Government's new term."

Ian Finch has been involved as counsel in many of New Zealand's leading IP decisions. He appears regularly in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and before the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office.

He is the general editor of James & Wells Intellectual Property Law in New Zealand, published by Thomson Reuters, and has been a speaker at numerous conferences on the subject of intellectual property enforcement.

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