Practical and a natural problem solver, Margot works alongside her clients to build strong brand ownership locally and abroad.
As a trade mark specialist, Margot helps her clients protect and enforce their trade marks and related intellectual property (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.
For five years Margot owned and ran a small manufacturing business selling value-added fresh fruit and vegetables into supermarkets throughout the North Island. Having gained an LLB from Victoria University, she joined AJ Park in 2008. Her background in branding and product development attracted her to IP law, and Margot’s firsthand experience of running her own company has led to an affinity with small-business owners.
‘I can relate to small-business owners who are expanding and looking to export. I understand their excitement and the challenges they face. They have to be a jack of all trades, and IP is just a small part of their worries, one that I can help them manage.’
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.
There's a lot to keep an eye on, but AJ Park manages our IP extremely well. Knowing they'll advise us when issues arise gives us peace of mind.- Tim Silverstone, GM Corporate Affairs, Sealord
Outside of work Margot enjoys putting her practical, common-sense approach to work in home improvement and DIY projects. She’s also very fond of cheese, in particular Dutch-style New Zealand cheeses and creamy blues. It’s something that developed alongside her other passion, travel. As well as extended stays in London, she’s also visited the Easter Islands, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Bolivia, Chile and Guatemala, and spent 11 weeks travelling solo through China.
- LLB, Victoria University of Wellington (1996)
- Admitted as a Barrister & Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand
- Registered Patent Attorney (New Zealand and Australia)
- Registered Trade Marks Attorney (Australia)
Sealord \ Catch of the day
With 4.4 million square kilometres of marine fisheries waters, New Zealand's fishing and aquaculture industry is worth $1.3 billion annually. Sealord, New Zealand's best known Seafood brand, distributes more than $500 million worth of sustainable, quality seafood each year to consumers in over 60 countriesCatch of the day
Margot Smith's insights
Article \ 11 Oct 2022
Happy 10th birthday to the Madrid Protocol in New Zealand
With all great birthday celebrations, there is always an element of reflection. As we near the 10th birthday of the Madrid Protocol in Aoteraroa New Zealand, it’s timely to look at the past 10 years and prompt those who engaged early on that their renewal is due soon.
Article \ 2 May 2022
Avoiding copyright lawsuits: record-keeping for creatives
The English High Court recently found in favour of musician Ed Sheeran in a copyright infringement case. Fellow English musician Sami Chokri, who performs under the name Sami Switch, had claimed that Sheeran’s 2017 hit song Shape of You copied an element from his own 2015 song, Oh Why. The judge firmly disagreed, finding there to be significant differences between the songs and concluding that Sheeran had not deliberately, or subconsciously, copied Chokri’s work.
Article \ 9 Apr 2021
Madrid trade mark registrations in Zambia, Lesotho, Sierra Leone and…
International trade mark registrations through the Madrid Protocol System (MPS) do not carry any legal force in Zambia, eSwatini (formerly Swaziland), Lesotho…
Article \ 11 Feb 2020
Cannabis referendum bill borrows heavily from tobacco legislation for advertising…
BackgroundIn the lead-up to the 2020 referendum on cannabis legalisation, the New Zealand government has introduced the draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control…
Article \ 23 Dec 2019
Rogue trade mark pirate files for 450+ New Zealand wine…
A Chinese company has filed trade mark applications to register some of New Zealand’s best-loved wine brands, in its own name.
Article \ 4 Dec 2019
New Zealand trade mark law changes: shortened grace period for…
Changes to the New Zealand Trade Marks Act 2002 will come into force on 13 January 2020. Trade mark owners should be…