AJ Park is proud to employ brilliant minds and promote bold leaders

News  \  1 Jul 2019

AJ Park is pleased to announce the promotion of five senior associates to principal, and one associate to senior associate. The promotions are effective today, 1 July 2019.

We also welcome new principal, Sam Pearson, and new senior associate, Natalie Harre, to the firm.


Congratulations to Dr James Robinson, Jonathan Aumonier-Ward, Kieran O’Connell, Margot Smith and Matthew Hayes who today become principals of AJ Park.

Dr James Robinson, Principal

A patent attorney with a background in organic chemistry, James has been a member of AJ Park’s life sciences patent team since 2007. He specialises in all aspects of intellectual property (IP) law for chemical innovations, but also handles applications in a wide range of other technical fields.  

James’s role involves filing and prosecuting patent applications, drafting patent specifications, advising clients on patent filing strategies, patent validity and infringement issues, and conducting patentability and freedom to operate searches on their behalf.

Jonathan Aumonier-Ward, Principal

Jonathan is an experienced trade mark and copyright specialist who uses his well-honed problem-solving skills to help his clients achieve their business goals. His clients include multinationals operating in a broad range of industries, from hospitality, food and beverage, and sustainable businesses, through to technology, software and communication. He also works with non-profit and charity organisations in New Zealand and overseas.

Jonathan is acknowledged by the World Trademark Review as one of New Zealand’s leading IP practitioners, with ‘a nose for commercial solutions to diverse trade mark and copyright issues’.

Kieran O’Connell, Principal

An experienced trade mark and copyright specialist, Kieran joined AJ Park in 2008. He works with a range of companies, advising them on IP strategy and helping them navigate the intricacies of protecting their IP rights.

Most of Kieran’s clients are local companies, such as outdoor apparel manufacturers, craft beer brewers, and organic food companies. His international clients include well-known multinationals in the electronics, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.

A highlight of Kieran’s working career has been providing advice around New Zealand’s flag change referendum—a project he describes as fascinating and unique.

Margot Smith, Principal

As a trade mark specialist, Margot helps her clients protect and enforce their trade marks and related IP rights. She works with small businesses as well as some of New Zealand’s largest corporates across the food and beverage, FMCG, luxury goods, and building industries. Many of them are exporters, and Margot works with international associates to ensure her New Zealand clients get appropriate protection in their chosen overseas markets. She also acts for some of Germany’s largest companies, protecting their IP in the New Zealand market.

Approachable, commercially astute and pragmatic, Margot is a big-picture person who likes to get to know her clients’ businesses and find solutions to fit their needs, plans, and budgets.

One of Margot’s specialist areas is in protecting non-traditional trade marks. These include shape, colour, and sound trade marks. Margot has a track record of obtaining protection for clients in this particularly tricky area of trade mark law. 

Matt Hayes, Principal

As a member of AJ Park's litigation and dispute resolution team, Matt specialises in resolving all kinds of disputes relating to IP—patents, trade marks, copyright, designs, misleading advertising and product claims, counterfeit goods, theft of confidential information, and regulatory issues.

Matt helps clients across all industry sectors. He has specialist copyright expertise and regularly advises clients in the areas of information and communications technology, software, and the media/creative/design industries. Matt is noted by his clients for delivering expert advice in a pragmatic and business-oriented manner.

Matt represents clients before the New Zealand Courts, the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand, and IP Australia. He also regularly works with overseas associates to oversee litigation and administrative actions before IP offices in other foreign jurisdictions for local exporters.


Managing director, Damian Broadley, says these promotions are all well-deserved.

These five have been with the firm for many years and are all recognised as experts in their respective areas of specialty. They each add their own unique combination of insight, skills and experience to the principal group. They all represent the values of AJ Park, have worked very hard, and fully deserve these promotions. I wish them well for the years ahead as leaders in the firm.

We also congratulate Daniel Hearn, who has been promoted to senior associate. 

Daniel Hearn, Senior Associate

A registered patent attorney with a background in mechanical engineering, Daniel specialises in patent and design law.

Daniel advises clients on the strategic use and protection of their IP, including patent, copyright and registered design matters, as well as other tricky issues clients face in the IP space. His particular specialty is in the area of mechanical patents, and he is adept at providing pragmatic strategies for all types of clients, from inventors to multinationals, on using their IP wisely.

Dan is a good attorney and a real asset to AJ Park.


New appointments 

We are delighted to welcome new principal, Sam Pearson, and new senior associate, Natalie Harre, to the firm.  

Sam Pearson, Principal

Sam, who was previously a patent attorney at AJ Park from 2005 to 2007, has returned from the UK to re-join the firm as a principal in our Auckland life sciences team. Sam specialises in the biotechnology and molecular biology fields, and has a particular interest in biopharmaceuticals, including engineered antibodies, antibody-drug conjugates, and immuno-oncology, as well as medical devices.

Sam's experience working as a qualified attorney in New Zealand and Australia, together with his experience of European and UK practice, provides him with a strong international perspective on patent drafting and prosecution.

Natalie Harre, Senior Associate

Natalie has joined our Auckland litigation and dispute resolution team. An experienced IP litigator, Natalie helps clients navigate the best path to enforce their IP and assists them in dealing with any challenges by third parties involving their IP rights. Natalie also works closely with the firm’s trade marks and patents teams to provide support and strategic advice before contentious matters arise.

Natalie has extensive experience advising on a range of IP matters, such as trade marks, copyright, patents, border protection, parallel importing, consumer law (including issues under the Fair Trading Act and Consumer Guarantees Act), advertising review/clearance advice and social media.


We congratulate our staff on their promotions and extend a warm welcome to our two new appointments. These promotions and appointments celebrate the achievements of our people and reflect AJ Park’s reputation as a great place to work.