Terms of Engagement

1. Our Relationship

  1. Should you engage our services, we will work to protect and develop your intellectual property. To do our job well, we must fully understand your ideas and plans. We therefore prefer a collaborative approach, where frank communication helps us to build a relationship of trust.

  2. In recognition of the trust you place in us, we make the following commitment:

Confidentiality We will respect the trust you place in us by keeping your ideas confidential
Fairness We will provide high quality work and value for your money
Communication We will explain our services clearly and keep you informed of progress in your matters
  1. In return, we ask the following of you:
Honesty You agree to share your ideas and plans with us fully and frankly
Fairness You agree to pay for our work promptly
Communication You agree to share questions and concerns with us as soon as they arise
  1. We look forward to building a collaborative working relationship as set out above. If doubts arise for any reason, the more formal terms below tell each of us what to expect. We hope that they are never needed.

2. Our People

  1. Our principal patent attorney is Dr Donald Ensor. Donald has 20 years experience as a patent attorney, prior to which he trained as a veterinarian. Holding a PhD in the biological sciences, Donald has taught at the University of Auckland Medical School and worked at McMurdo Station in Antarctica.
  2. We aim to give you the benefit of our skill and experience while providing efficiency and value for money.

3. Payment

  1. We are proud to deliver top-quality work while providing fair value for your money. At the start of each project, we will provide an indicative estimate of fees. If we learn that the work will cost significantly more than our estimate, we will let you know and discuss how to proceed.
  2. By engaging us, you agree to pay our fees and costs in full. If you will be unable to pay in full or wish us to cease acting, you must let us know as soon as possible. You will still have to pay us for any work we have already done, or any costs we have already incurred (such as fees to overseas associates).
  3. We may require payment before starting work on your matter.

Fixed Charges

  1. We offer fixed charges for certain types of work such as filing applications and paying renewals. These fixed charges reflect the typical time, effort and costs of such work. If your matter is unusually complex or urgent, then we may charge for the extra time and effort involved.

  2. Otherwise, our charges reflect:

    1. the time, effort, and skills of our staff;
    2. the complexity of your matter;
    3. value added or result achieved;
    4. urgency or risk;
    5. whether taking your matter might bar working for other clients; and
    6. reasonable costs of running our practice.


  1. We will issue invoices for work periodically, typically at the start of a matter or upon completion of significant actions.
  2. You will pay each invoice in full within:
    • 7 days of receipt for New Zealand clients; or
    • 60 days of receipt for overseas clients and associates.

8. If you cannot pay on time, you will contact us and ask for an extension of time before payment is due.
9. To minimise your costs, we will not send statements as a matter of course.

10. Our fees are exclusive of New Zealand GST. For services relating to New Zealand, GST will be payable on top of our fee. GST is not charged for overseas services (such as filing a PCT application).

11. If you do not pay an invoice on time, we may:
1. Charge interest on any overdue amount at the higher of 15% per annum or 5% above the overdraft rate of the Westpac Bank, calculated daily; and/or
2. Cease all current work for you and retain your papers and files until accounts are paid; and/or
3. Begin proceedings against you to recover all amounts owed, including interest and full collection costs on a solicitor client basis.

4. Contact Details

  1. We will contact you using the contact details you supply. You must tell us of any changes in your contact details. If we cannot contact you for instructions, your rights may be lost or otherwise disadvantaged.

5. Confidentiality

  1. In providing our services, we are likely to receive private and confidential information about you and your business plans. We will take reasonable steps to protect your private information.
  2. Making progress on your matters may require us to share information with third parties (for example by filing applications with a patent office). By instructing us, you agree that we may disclose your information where:
  3. disclosure is required by law; or
  4. disclosure is reasonably required to carry out your instructions.

6. Conflicts of Interest

  1. We will work to serve your interests. However, as New Zealand has few firms offering intellectual property services, we may act for other clients whose interests differ from yours.
  2. We will take reasonable steps to avoid conflicts of interest in live matters. This means we will require the consent of both parties to act where:
  3. another client’s instructions would conflict with your interests in an active matter; or
  4. there is a risk of your information being disclosed to another client, and disclosure would disadvantage you.

7. General Terms

  1. You agree to these terms by engaging our services.
  2. These terms are governed by New Zealand law, and are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the New Zealand courts.
  3. Our services are provided for the sole benefit of you, our client. Our advice may not be relied upon by other persons (including persons closely associated with you) unless we consent to this in writing.
  4. By signing these terms or our letter of engagement, each signatory binds not only the client whose instructions we agree to take, but also himself or herself as a personal guarantor of the client’s obligations under these terms.
  5. Where our client is a company, we do not act for directors or shareholders unless we expressly agree to do so in writing.
  6. We will not be liable for any lapse of rights or other loss where:
    1. You have not disclosed important information to us at the first opportunity; or
    2. Despite reasonable efforts, we cannot contact you for timely instructions; or
    3. We have ceased work on your matters due to outstanding payments.

6. Questions and Concerns

  1. We want to meet and exceed your expectations. Hearing directly from you is the best way for us to improve our services.
  2. We ask that you raise any questions regarding our service or charges with us immediately. Call us on (09) 846 0179 and we will provide a fair hearing. If we have made a mistake, we will try to make amends.
  3. If we cannot resolve your concerns, you may find the New Zealand Institute of Patent Attorneys helpful. They provide a Code of Conduct and a formal complaints service (see www.nzipa.org.nz).