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Ian Finch


Ian is recognised as one of New Zealand’s most influential leaders in intellectual property. He heads the James & Wells Litigation team and acts for many local and multi-national companies, helping them to obtain and enforce their intellectual property rights in Australasia. Ian has extensive litigation experience across a range of industries, particularly in construction, manufacturing, engineering, and medical devices.

He is the General Editor of New Zealand’s leading text on intellectual property law, James & Wells Intellectual Property Law.  

Outside of work, Ian loves hanging out with his kids, mountain biking, fishing and restoring cars. .

Qualifications and memberships

  • Master of Commercial Law from The University of Auckland
  • Bachelor of Law (Hons) from The University of Waikato
  • Registered Trans-Tasman Patent Attorney
  • Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand

Industry specialty

  • Agribusiness
  • Biotechnology
  • Chemical
  • Clean technology
  • Creative/Design/Media
  • Electronics
  • Food and beverage
  • Health technology
  • ICT - software
  • Mechanical
  • Natural products


  • Copyright
  • Confidential information and trade secrets
  • Domain name disputes
  • Alternative dispute resolution
  • Fair trading in New Zealand
  • Litigation
  • Intellectual property strategy


Ian is a formidable force in the courtroom. He has represented several multinational corporations in patent opposition cases including ResMed and Bayer. He represented international jeans company G-Star Raw in a landmark copyright case against Jeanswest New Zealand in which the most damages were awarded by a New Zealand court in a civil case involving a breach of intellectual property rights.

Ian is ranked amongst the Worlds Top 1000 Patent Attorneys by influential publication Intellectual Asset Management; receiving a gold ranking for patent litigation and transactions. He is also recommended by the World Trade Mark Review 1000 for enforcement and litigation, is recognised as a leader in the field of intellectual property by the Chambers Asia Pacific 2017 Guide, rated by Managing Intellectual Property as an expert in the field of IP Law, and is listed as a leading lawyer in the 2018 edition of Asia IP Experts for licensing and franchising, litigation and enforcement. Ian is also ranked by World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR) as a leader in IP private practice. Most recently, Ian was ranked by the Legal 500 as being a Tier 1 leading professional in the area of intellectual property.

But don't take our word for it

“As in-house counsel, I appreciate Ian's willingness to work directly with the business units to investigate facts, analyse complex issues, understand commercial objectives and deliver timely reliable counsel. Most importantly to me, he communicates his legal conclusions to business managers clearly and effectively, enabling them to manage risk and invest resources wisely.”

Lisa Soltis, Group Technology Counsel

"Although litigation is something best avoided, I would have no hesitation working with Ian and his team again and highly recommend others work with James & Wells for their intellectual property protection. Keep up the excellent work James & Wells.”

Kevin Chubb, Managing Director

"During the past couple of years, we engaged the services of Messrs Ian Finch and Sebastien Aymeric of James and Wells (JAWS) in relation to enforcing our intellectual property (IP) rights against various infringers in New Zealand. We found Ian and Seb to be extremely knowledgeable in NZ IP law and very pragmatic in their approach. They helped us achieve excellent outcomes in these matters and as a result, our IP is now well protected in New Zealand. We would have no hesitation in using JAWS again in the future if the need arose."

Gerhard Correa, Company Secretary