Briar joined AJ Park in early 2016 as a search analyst. A member of the firm’s chemistry and life sciences team, she assists the attorneys by conducting freedom-to-operate and patentability searches, as well as monitoring patents that are of interest to AJ Park’s clients. She also assists with patent prosecution and the drafting of patents for companies operating in the fields of chemistry, biology, food technology, and pharmaceuticals.
It’s work that draws on skills she has honed in her past roles and throughout her postgraduate study: organisation, attention to detail, research, and data collection and collation.
After gaining an honours degree in chemistry from the University of Otago, Briar worked in the laboratory at Wither Hills winery in her home town of Blenheim, testing wines throughout the fermentation process. She then moved to Auckland to do a PhD in chemistry, researching the organic synthesis of a natural compound with potential anti-cancer properties.
Briar has held various roles at the University of Auckland, initially as a teaching assistant, then as a senior research assistant at Auckland UniServices—the university’s commercial research arm, and most recently as a lecturer in organic chemistry.
Super-organised (she loves making lists) and curious by nature, Briar enjoys challenges and the satisfaction of seeing large projects through to completion. A chance conversation introduced her to intellectual property law and saw her take on her current role where the variety keeps her stimulated and on her toes.
Briar is currently working through her patent attorney exams. Passing the first three of these highly rigorous exams is among her proudest achievements.
The patent attorney exams are the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but AJ Park has a really good system where the senior staff tutor us, and the pass rate here is very high.
For several years Briar has been involved with the Auckland/Northland branch of Camp Quality, a charity that runs camps for children with cancer. She currently volunteers as a ‘companion’ and has also been the region’s Camp Manager and a member of the organising committee.