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Kieran O'Connell

Kieran O'Connell


AJ Park Law Limited, Wellington

Kieran is a trade mark and copyright specialist who enjoys finding pragmatic and cost-effective solutions to sticky issues.


As a principal specialising in trade marks and copyright, Kieran works with a range of companies, advising them on intellectual property (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.

Working with local companies and guiding them around issues and strategy is a favourite aspect of my job. I often get to be involved from the very start of the process, which allows us to form close working relationships.

Working style

Beneath Kieran’s relaxed exterior lies a strategic thinker who enjoys problem-solving. He loves rising to the challenge of providing pragmatic and cost-effective responses to sticky issues.

‘I try to be efficient and strategic in how I approach issues. Often, it’s not only about the issue that’s in front of you; you may need to think a couple of steps ahead too. I believe it’s important to be clear from the outset about what’s achievable within each client’s particular constraints. I like to outline what we might come across and where costs might lie so there are no surprises.’

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.

Recent accolades

Kieran was named in the 2019 edition of Managing IP's Rising Stars, produced by the IP STARS research team. This special list recognises some of the best up-and-coming IP practitioners who contributed to the success of their firms and clients. 

Previous roles

Kieran jokingly refers to himself as a failed musician who gave up his dream of rock ‘n’ roll fame as a bass guitarist to study law and history. It was his interest in the legal rights behind music that got him into IP law initially.

Before joining AJ Park in 2008, Kieran worked with the IP policy team at New Zealand’s Ministry of Economic Development, advising on free trade agreements and legislative changes. He took time off for an 18-month cultural exchange to Japan where he taught English, and then did legal work in London for companies in the licensing and merchandising space.  

Beyond work

Outside of work Kieran and his wife are busy raising their two young children. But they still make time to hone their surfing skills at nearby Lyall Bay in Wellington. Kieran also remains passionate about music, attending gigs by local bands and listening to indie and alternative artists.


  • BA (Hons), University of Otago (2002)
  • LLB, University of Otago (2002)
  • Admitted as a Barrister & Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand

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