I was born in Wellington, but moved often within New Zealand with my family due to my Father’s job. Before I began secondary school we settled in Nelson and I went to Nelson College for Girls. After finishing seventh form in 2004, I took a gap year in Germany where I lived with a host family and attended high school. This was more for the benefit of my German language skills than for academic study. I also travelled extensively throughout Europe during this year.
On returning from overseas I studied at Victoria University of Wellington for five years. I obtained a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration in Human Resources and Industrial Relations. The focus of my law papers tended toward civil and international law. It was not until later when I was doing my professionals course that I discovered an interest in criminal law and litigation. My commerce degree focused mainly on industrial relations and employment issues.
I was admitted to the bar and began work at Zindels in June 2011. What I lack in experience, I make up for with enthusiasm and passion for my job. So far I have worked mainly in the areas of Civil, Criminal and Employment Law, but I look forward to taking on new challenges in the future!
Whilst at Victoria University, I was employed by the University as a Research Assistant in the Faculty of Law. In particular, I undertook research for two of my lecturers on the two subjects briefly outlined below.
International Trade Law
I spent a summer conducting research into World Trade Organisation case law on an antidumping practice called Zeroing. This is a practice most commonly used by the United States when calculating dumping margins on imported goods. When products are imported into a country, the price is compared to the most similar product sold in the home market. Where the value of the foreign product is higher that the home market price, this difference is used as the dumping price for that item. Where the value is lower than home market price, instead of using the negative number when calculating the overall dumping margin, the figure zero is used instead. This means that when the overall dumping margin is calculated, not all comparable export transactions are being considered, and dumping can be found where there is none. This can affect the amount of antidumping duties a company is required to pay to import products into the home country. The use of zeroing essentially established a trade barrier making it difficult or unviable for foreign countries to export goods to the home market. The World Trade Organisation has held on several occasions that Zeroing is contrary to WTO Anti Dumping Agreements.
Intellectual Property Law
I also spent a year (while studying) carrying out various research and editing tasks relating to Intellectual Property Law, including helping to edit several chapters of a New Zealand text book on Intellectual Property Law. Intellectual Property Law gives proprietary rights for some ideas and creative works. It can be broadly split into several areas including Copyright, Trade Marks, Design Rights and Patents.
Copyright is an automatic group of rights which an author receives upon the creation, publishing or performance of an original work. Copyright protects the following groups: literary, dramatic, artistic and musical works; sound recordings; films; communication works and typographical arrangements of published works. Different people may have copyright in different aspects of a finished product.
It is important to note that new Copyright (Infringement File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011 comes into force on 1 September 2011. Aimed to target the illegal downloading of copyrighted material such as music and movies, a court may impose fines or suspend internet usage for up to six months of those caught infringing copyright.
A trade mark is a unique identifier for a particular product or brand. These need to be registered before rights can be enforced, but it must meet certain specifications in the Trade Marks Act. The Act imposes several restrictions on what may or may not be registered as a trade mark. The register also needs to be checked before a trade mark is registered to ensure there is nothing similar. A Trade Mark needs to be distinct enough that it will only be associated with one trader.
Design Rights relate to the visual appearance of an article, some new shape or design applied to the exterior of an article by industrial means. Only the exterior of the article can be protected by this right, and as with other aspects of Intellectual Property Law, the design must be new and original. Another interesting aspect of design rights is that they cannot be functional, they must be purely visual. Design rights need to be applied for.
To be patentable, your intellectual property must be able to be used in industry, contain something which is not obvious which has taken place in the inventive process and as with the other forms of intellectual property, it must be new or novel. Patents can apply to processes, products, chemical compounds, electronics, pharmaceuticals and many other things. A patent must be applied for through the patents office.
Each of these forms of intellectual property confers rights to the owner of that property which last for differing periods of time depending on the property and which category it falls under. The majority of these rights can then be bought and sold in much the same way as real property.
It is also important to note that many employment contracts, particularly those in the research and development industry contain clauses conferring ownership of intellectual property rights to the employer where the intellectual property is created during the course of employment. It is important to read these carefully and pay attention to them.