New Zealand Intellectual
Property Attorneys Inc


17 May 2021

Review of composition of Council

There have been a number of changes in our profession over the last few years. There are more firms in both New Zealand and Australia then there has ever been. As a membership organisation it is desirable that the composition of Council reflects the diversity of our membership. Statistical information about the composition of the membership of NZIPA is set out below. As an interim step for Council to reflect our membership we have created observer roles for In house Counsel and Young Practitioners.

We anticipate that the composition of Council and the selection process will evolve over time and that some Rule changes may be necessary in the future to facilitate this. However, there is scope for changes in the composition of Council and how council members are selected that can be made within the current framework and Rules. This means we can implement some changes in the near future - possibly as early as our AGM scheduled for 6 August 2021 without having to change our Rules.

Council members must be a Fellow (Rule 8.0). The term for each council member is one year and they are eligible for re-election (Rule 8.1). A commitment of at least 3 years per Councillor would be desirable. We anticipate that in time the term served by any on Council member will be significantly shorter than the terms served by current Council members.


For the next AGM Council will actively seek nominations for two vacancies on Council from the membership with a preference for nominations of members representing particular types of members, such as In-house counsel; small firms; young practitioners (up to 5 years post qualification). We will have ballot at the AGM if required.

To provide continuity and retain institutional knowledge we propose creating an honourary role of Immediate Past President.

The relevant Rule - rule 8 - can be found here.

We welcome member's feedback on the proposal - you can comment below - and look forward to starting the change process in August!

Membership Statistics


Roslyn Murray

17 May 2021

I think that in-house representation is a great idea - in-house have different challenges in their roles to those of traditional firm-based attorneys. Likewise, a young-practitioner representative is also a great idea and will potentially bear fruit in the years to come as those representatives hopefully step up to counsel roles.

Chris Way

17 May 2021

This all sounds reasonable and to some extent really just makes more transparent what has happened in the past.

Ian Cockburn

17 May 2021

Given the nature of the work, I would like to see all council members to be solicitors as well as IP professionals - and that at least one member be a commercial lawyer

Julie Crisford

17 May 2021

This seems like a great idea, widening representation beyond the traditional and formalising preference to have 3 year terms.

Ian Finch

18 May 2021

I welcome the initiative to have greater diversity on Council and, in particular, greater representation for in-house roles given they make up such a large proportion of our membership base. The suggestion of retaining the services of Presidents beyond their tenure for continuity is also a good one. Regarding Ian's comment - while many of us are dual qualified, it's important not to lose sight of a key focus of the NZIPA which is to recognise and promote the interests of registered patent attorneys.

Becky White

19 May 2021

Fully in support of a council that reflects the diversity of its members.

Virginia Nichols

25 May 2021

I support the idea of expressing a preference for nominees representing a particular constituency, but that this should be informal, so as to allow for selection of the best candidates, rather than box-ticking to fill quotas.

I don't see any advantage to having every member needing to be a solicitor.

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