AJ Park IP Limited, Wellington
Sarah combines her industry experience and IP expertise to help clients around the globe protect their innovations.
Sarah specialises in patent, design and related intellectual property law for mechanical and manufacturing patents. Her role involves preparing, filing and prosecuting patent and design applications both in New Zealand and overseas. She also advises clients on the viability of patenting or registering their innovations, and on related aspects of IP law such as design infringement and the validity of their rights in New Zealand and overseas.
Sarah joined AJ Park in 2003, and works with clients throughout North America, Europe and Asia prosecuting patents in New Zealand and Australia. She also assists local clients with patent and design protection overseas. With a degree in mechanical engineering, and engineering industry experience, Sarah is well-placed to advise her clients on their innovations. Among her New Zealand clients are many ‘backyard inventors’, and where she sees merit in following through with an IP strategy, Sarah enjoys helping them navigate the challenges to achieve their dreams.
Before joining AJ Park, Sarah worked for innovative Wellington-based window and door hardware exporter Interlock Industries. Her roles there ranged from continuous improvement of the company’s manufacturing processes, to human resourcing and new product development.
Becoming a patent attorney has allowed Sarah to make the most of her skills and experience, and to combine her love of writing and science. She’s wanted to be a patent attorney since the age of 13, when a friend’s father (who happened to be a partner at AJ Park) would regale her with interesting stories about his work.
When working with clients, Sarah favours honesty, enthusiasm and a flexible approach to meet each client’s unique circumstances and needs.
'I like to be upfront with my clients about the feasibility of their innovation at the start of the process, because it’s usually difficult and often expensive, so we need to be realistic about whether they actually have something worth protecting. At the same time, it’s important to match our client’s enthusiasm about their ideas.'
Sarah has lectured on intellectual property rights at Victoria University in Wellington, as well as presenting to industry and businesses groups. She has also designed and taught a patent drafting course through the Asian Patent Attorneys Association, which includes both theoretical and practical aspects. That work involved travelling to Southeast Asia to train patent attorneys in countries that are developing their IP laws. Sarah has been described by her students as having a passion for the subject matter which engages the students.
Beyond the office
Since 2009, Sarah has done volunteer work for Zonta International, a global women’s service and advocacy group that works across 67 countries to empower and support girls and women. She is currently President of Zonta’s Wellington Club.