New Zealand: World famous in New Zealand for IP strategy
Last Updated: 7 June 2013

James & Wells Partner, Kate Wilson has once more nabbed a spot on a prestigious list of the world's top 300 IP strategists.

Hamilton-based Kate, a top IP strategist for the firm, says she is pleased to have made it on the IAM Strategy 300 list for the third year in a row. "It's certainly great to be recognised by your global peers," she says.

Kate notes she is fortunate to work with a company full of top flight intellectual property strategists at James and Wells and, along with colleagues, enjoys the challenge of commercialising the great innovations of a raft of clients.

Getting singled out for the IAM Strategy 300 list is no small feat, however – there's no fee paid, or quota of people from far-flung places like New Zealand. In order to get on the list, the compilers do a thorough assessment of papers published1 and work completed. They also talk to a candidate's clients to get a feel for how appropriate and innovative the lawyer's advice has been.

And to underscore her fame in this fast-moving area of law, the long-time attorney and ex-physicist was picked to present a paper on "Creating the perfect IP2 brainstorming environment" to the ASTP (Association of European Science & Technology Transfer Professionals) in Vienna in May, and is listed in the top 1000 patent3 practitioners.

Kate says New Zealanders are natural innovators – but the issue is getting those ideas to market. Kiwis come in at number five internationally in terms of the number of people patenting ideas locally, but a lowly 25th for actually getting those ideas into global markets.

Kate would love it if the country recognised the wealth of IP expertise that is required to get innovation to market – but also if it recognised the world-class IP advice it is able to access. Her crusade to get the importance of proper IP advice and strategy recognised is one that she says she's been on for many years.

"There is not enough emphasis on understanding the critical role played by IP strategy – both by business but also by the authorities charged with stimulating this kind of commerce," she says.

"From creating great brainstorming sessions that really generate money-making ideas, to taking innovative New Zealand ideas and conquering global markets with them, there definitely needs to be a place at the table for an IP strategist," she says.

"It's almost impossible to make headway in business without one."


1At some point a patent application is published, meaning its contents are available for anyone to read. In New Zealand publication occurs when a patent application is accepted. However, in most countries publication occurs 18 months after the application is filed.

2Refers to the ownership of an intangible thing - the innovative idea behind a new technology, product, process, design or plant variety, and other intangibles such as trade secrets, goodwill and reputation, and trade marks. Although intangible, the law recognises intellectual property as a form of property which can be sold, licensed, damaged or trespassed upon. Intellectual property encompasses patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.

3A proprietary right in an invention which provides the owner with an exclusive right for up to 20 years to make, sell, use or import the invention. In exchange for this monopoly the patent is published so that others can see how the invention works and build on that knowledge. The patented invention may also be used by the public once the patent lapses.

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