Tom Cleary

Tom Cleary

Senior Associate, Auckland

Litigation & dispute resolution; Intellectual property

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T:+64 9 357 9889

M:+64 27 722 9430


MBHL (Dist), LLB (Hons), BSc (Biochemistry), University of Otago


2014, New Zealand

Tom specialises in commercial litigation, intellectual property and media law.

He is a commercial litigator experienced in advising and representing clients in complex disputes. Tom has appeared as counsel in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court and acted in mediations and arbitrations. He has particular expertise in intellectual property (copyright, trademarks and patents), media (defamation and privacy), trusts, contract and consumer protection law.

Tom is recommended by Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2019 for his IP work and “is praised as ‘clearly bright, responsive and easy to deal with’.” He is a co-author of the patent infringement section in New Zealand's leading intellectual property commentary, “Intellectual Property Law" (LexisNexis), and is a member of IPSANZ.

He joined Chapman Tripp in 2018 from Shortland Chambers where he was a barrister. Before that Tom was a Judges' Clerk and Clerk to the Rules Committee.

Recent experience

Tom has:

  • appeared in the Supreme Court in a high-profile defamation case about qualified privilege, damages awards and the circumstances when a jury's verdict can be set aside

  • represented Fisher & Paykel Healthcare in defending its health technology products against patent infringement claims and in challenging the validity of the asserted patents

  • acted for MediaWorks in the High Court and Court of Appeal defending a claim to journalistic source protection

  • appeared in the High Court and Court of Appeal establishing that a director of a law firm was liable for breaches of the Fair Trading Act 1986 concerning financing the share purchase of Orcon

  • appeared in the Supreme Court successfully arguing that a commercial property was not held in a beneficial trust and the transfer of that property was intended to defeat the respondent's rights in the property

  • appeared in the High Court challenging the enforcement in New Zealand of a multi-million dollar award by an overseas tribunal

  • acted for Warner Bros and Universal Music in a royalty dispute over streaming revenue for Ed Sheeran’s song, “I See Fire”, and

  • represented an international production company in a dispute over a former television channel, intellectual property rights and unpaid royalties.

Litigation & dispute resolution; Intellectual property





Technology, media & telecommunications