Since the ‘90s, Fiona has played an important role in AJ Park’s trade mark team. Being a solid fixture of the firm has allowed her to develop her knowledge, gain new skills and build long-lasting relationships with her clients. She is currently a trade mark executive in the Wellington office and supports clients to protect their intellectual property (IP) in the Pacific Islands.
With an impressive Coca-Cola memorabilia collection, Fiona and her husband have been collecting since before they got together. With over 200 items, you will be impressed by the niche items they’ve collected over the years.
You’ve been with AJ Park for over 30 years, what do you love about the firm?
Has it been 30 years already? I’ve worked in a few different teams at AJ Park and within each team, I’ve always found variety which I love and keeps me on my toes. I started as a secretary, and after completing my trade mark exam in 1999, I moved into my current role as a trade mark executive.
There were about 80 people when I started, so I've seen the firm more than double in size.
The firm culture has evolved over the years with new faces, being acquired by IPH, and acquiring Baldwins IP. It's been good for streamlining processes, focusing more on clients, and the firm's growth.
Post Covid, AJ Park has quickly embraced flexible working as we know it now. It's been great as I live a decent commute from the office. It's given me more time in my day, and I connect with my colleagues when I go into the office. It's a win-win.
Tell me about your role at AJ Park
I’m a trade mark executive for the Pacific Islands – a jurisdiction that has seen rapid expansion over the past 10 years. I coincidently did a lot of work in this region because of the team I was in and built out my knowledge over time – I just fell into it.
My role includes supporting clients with precautionary notices, trade mark filings, prosecution, searching, portfolio management, renewals, enforcements, as well as the usual IP support. I also do a lot of work in the Pacific establishing stealth trade mark filings on behalf of global companies to support business intelligence. We mostly do work in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu.
It’s been an interesting area to work in. In the past, policy has been slow to develop, but I’ve noticed it’s now speeding up. So, with the changes it’s been busy keeping on top of these to ensure we are delivering the most up to date advice to our clients.
What clients do you enjoy working with?
There are also two companies I've been working with for a long time and sit close to my heart - P&G and Kellogg's. But generally, larger corporates are good to work with as they have a lot going on, which keeps me busy. Maintaining such strong relationships with so many companies has also been fantastic throughout the years.
AJ Park perks
The firm supports us with a health and wellness benefit which I used on a new pair of sneakers. I’ve walked a lot of kms in them – primarily around Waikanae and the Wellington waterfront when I’m in the office. I also participated in September last year – something the IPH network gets behind every year!
We have a great social club in Wellington. They run lots of community fundraisers, quiz nights, competitions, treasure hunts and we always have a fun Christmas party.
What keeps you busy on the weekend?
My husband and I watch a lot of sports and comedy. Specifically American and English comedies – we’ve seen Jimmy Carr and Michael McIntyre live recently. I also went to my third Warriors game on Saturday night – unfortunately, they lost.
My husband and I were both collectors of Coca-Cola memorabilia before we got together.
We drank a lot of Coca-Cola then, and it morphed from there. So, we have an extensive collection of about 200-300 items now. When we went to Los Angeles in 2004, there was a dedicated Coca-Cola shop and we brought so much stuff back! But, I’m most proud of the unusual things in our collection such as lamps, belly button rings.
My husband and I had a dog called Coke who sadly passed away a few years ago. We now have two cats - Alexis (1) and Twyla (2) – named after characters off Schitt’s Creek. When we adopted Twyla she had severe anxiety and didn’t like loud noises so spent a lot of time behind the bed. We decided to get her a friend, Alexis, who is quite outgoing so whips Twyla into shape. They love and rely on each other a lot.