With both a PhD in chemistry and an honours degree in law, chemical patent expert Jo Shaw heads up AJ Park’s chemistry and life sciences team in Sydney. It’s a role that sees her advising clients on intellectual property (IP) strategy and commercialisation, patentability, patent validity and infringement, and drafting, filing and prosecuting patent applications.
Jo has a particular interest in food and beverage inventions, including natural products, extracts and nutraceuticals. Her clients include universities, Crown Research Institutes, multinationals and individuals across the chemical, pharmaceutical, biotechnological, and food and natural products industries.
After spending 18 months as a post-doctoral research fellow at the prestigious Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, California, Jo returned to New Zealand to study law fulltime. She joined AJ Park in Wellington in 2002 and moved to Sydney in 2016 to head the firm’s chemistry and life sciences patent practice in Australia.
By specialising in IP law, Jo’s been able to continue working in the field of science while becoming involved in the creative process of helping clients commercialise the outcomes of their research.
Pragmatic, approachable and open, Jo doesn’t believe in simply telling people what they want to hear—instead, she has her clients’ commercial interests at heart and tries to offer honest advice, particularly around the risks associated with their business endeavours.
Building genuine personal connections with her clients is another hallmark of Jo’s working style. She believes that clients who are informed about IP will be able to apply her advice more cost-effectively and make better use of their IP. Her patent training seminars are designed to educate people about the requirements for patentability, and help scientists identify research that might yield the best results.
I love helping clients understand their IP so they can make good decisions. It’s easy to spend years generating research data, and naturally, you want to see something good come from that research, but it’s important that scientists and researchers understand the requirements for patentability so they can focus their efforts accordingly. It’s also important for clients to have a clear idea of where they want to go commercially, so we can work out an IP strategy that helps them meet their goals. Protecting your IP can be very expensive, not to mention time-consuming. Our starting point is ‘why do you want to protect it?’. Everything follows from there.