Kevin practises in the area of commercial disputes. About half of his work relates to intellectual property and the other half involves general civil and commercial disputes. He holds a Masters degree in law from the University of Cambridge, presents lectures and seminars to practitioners and students and writes for a number of legal publications. He regularly advises on complex commercial disputes and acts as lead counsel on trial and appellate cases, as well as interim injunction applications.
He is a recognised expert in intellectual property and has acted as sole or lead counsel in high profile cases involving copyright, trade mark infringement and registrability (including IPONZ oppositions), patents, design rights, passing off, the Fair Trading Act, domain name issues and breach of confidence. Examples of Kevin’s recent cases are set out below. He also adjudicates on domain name disputes as an Expert for the New Zealand Domain Name Commissioner. Kevin has been named as a leading barrister for intellectual property disputes in New Zealand by Doyle’s Guide (2016, 2018) and World Trademark Review (2017, 2018).
Kevin also advises and acts on a wide range of general civil and commercial disputes, mainly relating to land/property (including leases, caveats, agreements for sale and purchase and partition under the Property Law Act), contract and insolvency. Other recent matters include:
- technology disputes;
- media law, including pre-publication defamation advice for publishers/broadcasters and recipients of requests for comments, defamation claims and advertising standards complaints;
- agency, equity, trust and fiduciary duty disputes;
- franchise agreements;
- shareholder disputes and other Companies Act issues; and
- judicial review.
The following is a selected list of cases over the past four years where Kevin has acted as counsel.
- Geostel Vision Limited v Oraka Technologies Limited: Copyright, counsel for the second and third defendants. Successfully overturned the largest award of copyright damages in New Zealand history ($4.1m) on appeal to the Court of Appeal in 2016 ( 2 NZLR 611), obtained costs in the Supreme Court on withdrawn application for leave to appeal. Counsel for the same parties for six day hearing on quantum (2017), currently under appeal to the Court of Appeal (2018).
- Australasian Conference Association v A Little Bit of Britain Limited: Trade mark dispute, acting for the defendant in relation to the importation and sale of British “Weetabix” cereal by a specialist British goods store in response to trade mark infringement claim by Sanitarium as the owner of the “Weet-Bix” mark, 3-day trial High Court scheduled for July-August 2018.
- Re Mosaic Enterprises Limited: insolvency case, opposition to appointment of interim liquidators and then application for appointment of Official Assignee as liquidator; also advising on ownership of copyright in software (High Court, 2018).
- Opinel SAS v Pirie (DRS 1236) and Simba Sleep Ltd v Wang (DRS 1272): adjudication of New Zealand domain name disputes as Expert (2017 onwards).
- Dr August Wolff GmbH & Co Arzneimittel v Combe International Ltd: IPONZ trade mark opposition, currently under appeal to the High Court by other party (2017-18).
- Watkins Manufacturing Corporation v Prestige Pools Ltd: first New Zealand design rights case to reach trial for 30 years, 3-day High Court trial on liability, now proceeding to remedies hearing (2018).
- Corporate Sureties Limited v Macken: property dispute, defended summary judgment application regarding specific performance of an agreement for sale and purchase of land (High Court, 2017).
- Man Truck & Bus AG v Shaanxi Heavy-Duty Automobile Co. Ltd: IPONZ trade mark opposition in 2016, and then successful appeal to the High Court in 2017.
- Craig v Social Media Consultants Ltd: copyright claim against published of the “Whale Oil” blog, appeal to the High Court against decision of the District Court striking out the claim (2017), awaiting allocation of trial fixture by the District Court.
- Bayly v Hicks: Counsel for respondents in leading case on partition under the Property Law Act 2007, involving expert valuation, surveying and planning issues (7 day hearing in the High Court, 2011, (2011) 13 NZCPR 568; Court of Appeal, 2012,  2 NZLR 401; 3 day hearing in the High Court, 2015; resolved after Court of Appeal hearing was adjourned part-heard, 2016).
- Wendco v Auckland Council and Wiri Licensing Trust: Second counsel for the Trust in successfully opposing two applications for interim injunction in lease dispute (2014). Also second counsel on opposition to application for judicial review regarding non-notification of resource consent application (High Court, 2014, Court of Appeal, 2015 (2015) 19 ELRNZ 328 and Supreme Court, 2016  1 NZLR 1008).
- Yellow Holdings Ltd v Eurobelt Ltd: Counsel for the defendant in opposing an interim injunction application in the High Court regarding use of a domain name (High Court, 2016).
- Starik Family Trust v Auckland Council: Counsel for the fifth respondent labour-only builder on proceeding with a 6-day hearing (Weathertight Homes Tribunal, 2016).
- Aleem Pty Limited v Nelson Petroleum Limited: Trade mark opposition (IPONZ, 2016)
- Marr v Parkin: Counsel for the defendant High Court claim relating to purchase of a residential property (4 day trial), judgment for the defendant upheld on appeal. Issues included agency, knowing receipt, competing equitable priorities and the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act. Granted increased costs in relation to the proceeding and related caveat matter (High Court, 2014 and Court of Appeal, 2015; High Court costs judgment, 2015). Also application for possession of property, granted on summary basis (High Court, 2015).
- Commercial Metals Limited / All Metals Limited v Wright: Opposition to application for summary judgment in the High Court on contract/guarantee claim (2014) 15 NZCPR 467), upheld in the Court of Appeal (2015).
- Pinnacle Liquor Group Pty Limited v New Zealand Winegrowers: Trade mark opposition regarding “South Island” for wine (IPONZ, 2014).
Kevin has been a member of Shortland Chambers since 2009. He is currently a member of the Board of Chambers and its New Members Committee (concerned with recruitment).
Prior to joining the independent Bar, Kevin practised in leading firms in Auckland and London: Bell Gully, Auckland (2002 to 2003; 2005 to 2009), Ashurst, London (2004 to 2005) and Russell McVeagh, Auckland (2000 to 2002).
Current Professional Memberships and Committees
- Member of the New Zealand committee of the Intellectual Property of Australia and New Zealand (IPSANZ) (2008 to present)
- Member of Continuing Professional Development committee of Auckland District Law Society (2015 to present)
- Member of NZ Bar Association, Auckland District Law Society, Legal Research Foundation and New Zealand Law Society
- Associate Member of Arbitrators' and Mediators' Institute of New Zealand (AMINZ)
- Awarded a first in LL.M at University of Cambridge (Sidney Sussex College) (2003-04)
- Awarded scholarships from the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust and the Spencer Mason Trust towards study at Cambridge (2003)
- Completed NZLS Advanced Litigation Skills Programme (2009)
- First class honours in LL.B (Hons) at University of Waikato (1996-1999)
- Auckland Community Law Centre pro bono bankruptcy advice service
- Patron, Auckland Writers Festival
- Presenter of annual seminar on legal careers at the University of Waikato (2010 to present)
- Supporting Waiheke High School’s “Career Taster” days (2016 to present)
- Former member of Board of Trustees of Te Huruhi School (2013 to 2017), including as Chair (2016-17)
- Acting on a full pro bono and discounted fee basis for various clients (schools, charities, individuals in special circumstances)
Kevin has presented lectures and seminars in New Zealand and Australia. He has also taught postgraduate and undergraduate courses on intellectual property as a visiting lecturer at the University of Auckland.
Recent seminars and lectures include the following:
- “Making Applications Easy” workshop (ADLS, 2017 and 2018)
- “Patents – sufficiency, support and best method” (IPTA annual conference, Perth, Australia, 2017)
- “Patents: staying on the right side of the disclosure rules” (IPSANZ, Auckland and Wellington, 2017)
- Visiting lecturer “Innovation and IP” course (University of Auckland’s Department of Commercial Law, 2017)
- “Dealing with the Bolt from the Blue – Managing ICT Disputes” at NZLS Cyber Law Conference (2016)
- "How to not mess up an IP case” (with Greg Arthur) (IPSANZ, 2016)
- Chair, "IP and Commercial Issues" conference (Legalwise, 2016)
- “When an IP Disaster Strikes: Managing Intellectual Property Disputes” (ADLS, 2015)
- Panel discussion on intellectual property and music (NZIPA, 2015)
- “Using Competitors’ Brands – An Update on AdWords and Comparative Advertising” (ADLS, 2014)
- “Interim injunctions in intellectual property cases” (IPSANZ, 2013)
- Visiting lecturer, “Copyright” intensive LLM paper (University of Auckland, 2011 and 2013)
- “Musical issues in copyright law” (IPSANZ, 2012)
- Various seminars presented to law firms in Australia and throughout New Zealand
Kevin has written articles for a wide variety of publications including the New Zealand Law Journal, the New Zealand Intellectual Property Law Journal, Law News, Waikato Law Review and NZ Lawyer. He publishes articles and introductory guides about intellectual property and related matters on his website, www.iplawyer.co.nz. He is also an author of the following texts relating to intellectual property:
- Contributing author to the “Copyright” section of New Zealand's leading text on copyright law, “Intellectual Property Law” (looseleaf, LexisNexis) (2010 to present)
- Author of “Intellectual Property” chapter of Auckland District Law Society’s “Legal Practice Manual” (published 2015)
- Updating author of "Copyright" chapter of Laws of New Zealand (LexisNexis) (2009 to present)
- Author of chapters regarding IPONZ and the Copyright Tribunal to forthcoming text published by Thomson Reuters regarding tribunals in New Zealand