AJ Park Law Limited, Auckland
Ken specialises in information technology, software and internet law, copyright, and trade secret law.
Ken joined AJ Park in 1971 and was a partner until he retired at the end of 2006. He now works as a consultant in our Auckland office, specialising in information technology, software and internet law, copyright, and trade secret law.
Ken gains huge satisfaction from mentoring others in these fields and modestly describes himself as more of a ‘backroom boy’ these days, providing legal opinions for others or working on reverse briefs from QCs.
In addition to New Zealand litigation, Ken has advised on and managed litigation for New Zealand clients in the USA, Germany and the United Kingdom. These related to technology licensing disputes, patent infringement and software trade secrets.
Ken has spent the best part of his career at AJ Park. He gained an engineering degree from the University of Auckland, and after working as an engineer for 18 months with what was then the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, he was recruited to AJ Park to handle patents for colour televisions. Remember, this was back in 1970 when TV was in black and white.
In 1978 Ken developed a practice in computer law and in 1989 he was counsel for the successful plaintiff in IBM v Computer Imports, New Zealand’s first software copyright case to go to trial. More recently, Ken acted for Fisher & Paykel Finance in the longest IP/IT law case in New Zealand. This was Karum v Fisher & Paykel Finance, where the High Court trial in 2012 lasted eight weeks. The case involved alleged non-literal infringement of software copyright. On appeal, the Court of Appeal in 2014 upheld the decision of the High Court that there was no infringement and to a large extent ruled out the possibility of non-literal infringement for software, as compared to books or plays with a plot, which would be protected by copyright as well as the text.
With such a long pedigree at AJ Park, Ken is well-placed to comment on what sets the firm apart from others.
A big bonus of being part of AJ Park is that we are an 'international' law firm – we handle both incoming work from clients, patent attorneys and lawyers in other countries, and look after our exporters working with patent attorneys and lawyers in offshore markets. It was this that led to me becoming a committee chair in the International Bar Association.
Ken especially enjoys the blend of law and technology that his role affords. He has authored numerous papers on the legal nature of software, copyright, software copyright and intellectual property law, and is a co-author of the book Copyright & Design. Ken is also a former co-chairman of the technology and e-commerce committee of the International Bar Association.