Born and bred in Wellington, New Zealand, Natasha attended Victoria University of Wellington and completed a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Economics.
Natasha's first role in a law firm was as a patent assistant at AJ Park. Looking for work as a lawyer, she juggled part-time employment with a Barrister until a full-time legal role came up with AJ Park. She quickly fell in love with the world of intellectual property (IP), being able to see the early stages of businesses and their inventions and come up with creative arguments.
Creativity doesn't just span across Natasha's work but also into her personal life. For example, Natasha and her partner Raymond purchased their first home in 2021 and, without hesitation, have thrown themselves into renovations. Doing every aspect themselves (embracing the true Kiwi DIY attitude) allows a creative outlet for Natasha to decide how to remodel each space.
What was your journey into IP?
I joined AJ Park in November 2020 as a patent assistant in the EIT team, a job in a law firm was a good start following my graduation.
I then had the opportunity to do employment law work for a Barrister for 10-15 hours per week. So I could keep my role at AJ Park four days per week, which was great and exposed me to different areas of law in different types of legal practices.
In April 2022, a full-time role came up in the trade marks team, so I jumped. Since then, I have worked with two different Principals (Penny Catley and Jonathan Aumonier-Ward) and have loved getting stuck into shaping legal arguments.
Which clients do you like working with the most?
A client that is close to my heart is Aeropress. I received my first acceptance with their work, which sticks in my head.
However, all the clients I get to work with are great! I have a soft spot for smaller local clients as you can form a more personable relationship. For the smaller businesses, it feels like I'm making a more significant difference by helping them navigate an area that generally seems entirely foreign to them.
What makes the trade mark team shine?
One of the things I've loved is the focus on helping the junior team members to learn new things – our team does this well. Every week, we have one hour of team training where we sit together and solve a client problem through real practice learning. There is a lot of brainstorming and sharing of ideas and thoughts. First, the argument is drafted, and then we put ourselves in the examiner's shoes and look at the chances of it getting accepted. The cross-pollination of ideas and the different ways we approach the problem always make it an exciting session!!
Our team is efficient and good at giving valuable advice to clients. However, instead of overloading our clients with all the information, we boil it down to what they need to know and what they should do next. We always put ourselves in the client's shoes and focus on communication that minimises the valuable time clients need to spend on the work – we take care of it, and they trust us, which is excellent!
AJ Park has many staff perks. Have you made the most of any of them?
The AJ Park health and wellness benefit encouraged me to return to hockey. I had six years off from a knee injury, but the benefit was a good prompt for me to get back into sports and made it more accessible. Something I'm grateful for!
Our social club and community engagement committee put on some rewarding initiatives. For example, recently, I did a load of baking to raise money for those affected by Cyclone Gabrielle. And there was another fundraiser where I brought a few hotdogs. Food is always an excellent way to get people to open their pockets for a good cause.
I also work flexible hours, starting at 7.15am and finishing around 4.00pm. It means I can go to the gym when it's less busy. I also work from home from Wednesday to Friday, giving me more time in my day.
What keeps you busy at the weekend?
My partner Raymond and I bought a house in 2021, a 1970s original home purchased from the original owner. So, you can imagine the work ahead of us to bring it into the 21st century.
We're doing absolutely everything ourselves and have so far got new curtains, painted the whole exterior and the master room, and are in the process of putting in a new ensuite. We've also ripped eight tonnes of concrete from the backyard and planted half of it with a veggie garden. Big jobs!
Raymond and I do a walk every week to keep active. I also play hockey for the local Tawa club. Our team's name is the Pink Fluffy Unicorns which has 50 years of heritage!