Sue Rutledge

Sue, a patent law specialist with over 20 years’ experience, takes a pragmatic and commercially-sensible approach to helping her clients protect their exciting new developments.


Sue is a patent law specialist with over 20 years’ experience in chemistry and life sciences, and particular expertise in pharmaceuticals and food technology. Her role includes preparing, filing and prosecuting patent applications, and advising companies on patentability and freedom-to-operate.

Interacting with her clients is a favourite aspect of Sue’s day, and she relishes the intellectual challenge and exposure to interesting new technology. She enjoys interacting with scientists at local research institutes and learning about their inventions while working to protect them; but working with corporate patent counsel for local and offshore clients is equally stimulating.

I love the interesting blend of science and law, and having the opportunity to help clients protect exciting new developments. Intellectual property law is very complex and technical, but it’s really just a business tool. When advising clients, I like to take a pragmatic and commercially-sensible approach, rather than an academic one.

Professional experience

Having gained a BSc with honours in chemistry, Sue worked as a scientist for the Wheat Research Institute and the Industrial Processing Division of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research—now reconstituted as several Crown Research Institutes.

She joined AJ Park in 1989 as a patent executive, and became a registered patent attorney in 1992. While working at AJ Park, she studied law part-time at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, and qualified as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand in 1996.

After a stint at another New Zealand-based IP firm, Sue rejoined AJ Park in 2002 as a part-time consultant and subsequently returned full-time to work in the Auckland chemistry and life sciences team, where she’s been since in 2004.

Client relationships

Sue believes successful working relationships require clear communication, attention to detail, delivering on promises, and mutual respect for each other’s expertise and role. Of course, a sense of humour and appreciation also help.

Sue is proud to have played a key role in managing the Australasian patent portfolios for some of AJ Park’s major pharmaceutical clients for over a decade, and the appreciation and loyalty those clients have shown the firm.

‘Helping clients achieve their IP protection or business goals is incredibly satisfying, and I love getting positive feedback from clients.’

Beyond the office

Outside of work, Sue relaxes with her husband and two naughty Burmese cats. A dedicated runner for the last 20 years, she does the occasional half marathon, competing against her own personal best performances. Downtime for Sue includes reading, the cinema, playing the piano and cooking.


Click 'Team' to see other members of my practice group.