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Kate McHaffie

Kate McHaffie


AJ Park Law Limited, Wellington

Kate specialises in intellectual property litigation. Her particular area of interest is working with pharmaceutical inventions.


Kate joined AJ Park in 1998 and heads the Wellington dispute resolution and litigation team, handling contentious matters involving all kinds of intellectual property. She has litigation experience in the areas of patents, trade marks, copyright and registered designs.

In addition to her litigation expertise, Kate is part of AJ Park’s advertising team, which advises on legal advertising code, and industry regulatory requirements for marketing in New Zealand.

The technical nature of her work appeals to Kate’s scientific side, and the variety of clients and subject matter she encounters keeps her intellectually challenged. Committed, practical and inquisitive, Kate thrives in an environment focused on innovation.


Kate’s particular area of interest is pharmaceutical inventions, and she has been involved in patent cases for international corporations such as GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, and Sanofi-Aventis. She has also acted for clients in the manufacturing and telecommunications industries.

“We’re very lucky at AJ Park to act for some of the best companies in the world, big and small, local and overseas-based. Each has their own story and their own drivers, and it’s my job to understand those so I can provide targeted commercial advice. All my clients have a problem that needs to be solved; it’s up to me to relate to them in whatever way is the most helpful. Kate has represented clients in the High Court and been involved in cases in the Court of Appeal. She also appears before the Commissioner at hearings held in the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand on trade mark and patent matters.

Working style

Kate works hard to understand each client’s business and their goal so she can advise on the best way to achieve that, whether by litigation or an alternative dispute resolution mechanism.

Competence and professionalism are a given in any successful working relationship. Beyond this, what’s critical is trust. Regardless of their size, location or issue, our clients need to know they can trust me to care about their matter and give it my full focus.

Kate is passionate about supporting and encouraging women in the patent attorney profession to progress and succeed. Underpinning everything she does is the desire to truly make a difference.

Kate was mentioned in IAM Patent 1000 2018 as bringing 'complex Trans-Tasman disputes to efficient conclusions.' As well as having 'substantial experience litigating for global healthcare, manufacturing and telecoms operations.'

In 2017, Kate was described in IAM Patent 1000 index as 'extremely professional' having an enviable track record serving pharmaceutical titans in critical patent suits; she wins plaudits for her bedside manner and is 'a pleasure to deal with'.


  • LLB (Hons), Victoria University (1997)
  • BSc (Hons), Victoria University (1997)
  • Admitted as a Barrister & Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand
  • Admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Australia
  • Registered Patent Attorney (New Zealand & Australia)