International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8 March each year. This global day connects women around the world and aims to inspire them to achieve their full potential.
AJ Park has an exceptionally talented team of women lawyers, patent attorneys and staff. To celebrate International Women’s Day 2020, we are showcasing the achievements of three inspiring AJ Park women and their work in intellectual property (IP) and beyond.
Lynell Tuffery Huria
Lynell Tuffery Huria (Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāruahine, Ngā Rauru) joined AJ Park in 1990, aged just 16, and this year she celebrates 30 years with the firm. Lynell was also the first Māori patent attorney in New Zealand. In 2018, she became a principal of AJ Park.
With more than 20 years’ experience, Lynell specialises in all aspects of trade mark protection, management and enforcement. She acts for a diverse range of clients, from Māori organisations in New Zealand to multinational companies in North America, South America and Asia.
In the 2020 edition of the WTR 1000, Lynell has been recognised for possessing ‘unsurpassed thoroughness, timeliness and attention to detail’ and as ‘the go-to attorney in town’.
Lynell is regarded as New Zealand’s leading expert on indigenous IP rights and Māori IP. She manages AJ Park’s presence in the Pacific Islands and specialises in advising Māori organisations on IP issues and protecting their cultural icons.
Lynell is passionate about helping Māori navigate the IP system, identify cultural property and develop protocols and processes for recognition and protection within Western structures. In her experience, IP is seen as expensive and not inherently in alignment with Te Ao Māori (the Māori world). She is committed to bridging the two world views.
Despite her busy career, Lynell is committed to giving back. She dedicates her time and expertise to ensure that future generations will benefit from the richness of indigenous culture. She chairs the International Trademark Association (INTA) Indigenous Rights Committee and has been involved in drafting submissions on new legislation for the protection and recognition of indigenous rights across the globe. Lynell regularly presents IP seminars to Māori businesses. In 2018, she co-organised the first Ngā Taonga Tuku Iho conference to discuss ways we can protect our cultural heritage in this ever-changing world.
Lynell has been invited to speak at the Wellington Women Lawyers’ Association’s International Women’s Day event, ‘I am Generation Equality in the Professions’, which is being held on Monday 9 March—. This cross-professional panel includes speakers from the legal, engineering, medical, accounting and health sectors. They will discuss issues such as the challenges for this generation in various professions; actions for culture change; obstacles in the traditional workplace for generation equality; leadership; pay equity and workplace diversity.
Grace Thomas-Edmond pursues a wide-ranging practice across commercial and IP matters, with a focus on the commercialisation of IP.
She is highly regarded by both clients and colleagues alike and is known as a ‘safe pair of hands’ for providing practical advice to clients who are often engaged in dealing with complex licensing and contractual issues. Grace’s clients range from start-ups to Crown Research Institutes and large private sector entities.
Grace is a fantastic role model for young women in the legal profession. Aside from her technical legal skills, she mentors AJ Park’s junior executives and provides guidance on developing business relationships and navigating firm life. Returning to full-time legal practice after parental leave with her first child, Grace saw an opportunity to support other women within the firm, and has since taken on an informal role assisting women who are going on parental leave and supporting them in managing a challenging time in life.
Grace has had a range of highlights in the past year including co-leading a mental wellness initiative within AJ Park; and providing pro-bono advice to a charity called Little Sprouts, which provides life-changing baby boxes to babies in need, and to Wāhine Connect, a charity that has set up national and professional networks for New Zealand women involved in medicine and health.
Grace was recently named in NZ Lawyer’s inaugural 2020 Rising Stars list. This list honours up-and-coming stars in the legal profession who are committed to making a difference and showcases young legal practitioners making waves in the early stages of their careers. This fantastic achievement is a testament to Grace’s continuous hard work and dedication.
Dr Carol Johns
We would like to introduce our newest recruit, Dr Carol Johns. Hailing from the Bay Area in the US, Carol joined AJ Park’s Wellington life sciences patent team as a senior associate in January 2020. AJ Park has one of the largest life sciences patent teams in Australasia, with a team of 15 professional staff, including 9 PhDs.
Carol is a US patent attorney and specialises in international patent prosecution in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, diagnostic, and agricultural fields. She has particular focus in cancer diagnostics and immunotherapy, the microbiome, and prenatal testing.
Prior to joining AJ Park, Carol was a senior patent attorney at a Swiss-based diagnostics company in the US. She has also worked as a senior associate at a large international law firm in the US for over eight years.
Carol earned a PhD in biology from the University of California, San Diego in 2000 and went on to receive her juris doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley in 2006. She was registered to practice before the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) as a patent attorney in 2001 and was admitted to the State Bar of California in 2007.
AJ Park is committed to ensuring gender equality across the firm. In March 2019, we signed up to the New Zealand Law Society's Gender Equality Charter. The Charter is a set of commitments aimed at improving the retention and advancement of women lawyers. However, as we are committed to attracting, retaining and advancing all our women, we have applied the same commitments to women across the firm.