Tom Cleary Tom Cleary

Tom Cleary
Senior Associate

Litigation & dispute resolution
Intellectual property

An experienced litigator, Tom advises on a wide range of complex commercial disputes.

Tom has particular expertise in intellectual property, defamation, privacy, company, trust and consumer protection law.

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.

Tom is a co-author of the patent infringement section in New Zealand’s leading intellectual property commentary, Intellectual Property Law (LexisNexis).

He is highly recommended by Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2020 and recognised as a Rising Star by both Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2020 and IP Stars 2019.

Recent highlights 

  • Represented Fisher & Paykel Healthcare in defending its health technology products against patent infringement claims and in challenging the validity of the asserted patents.
  • 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 in a high profile defamation case about qualified privilege, damages awards and the circumstances when a jury's verdict can be set aside.
  • Acted for MediaWorks in the High Court and Court of Appeal defending a claim to journalistic source protection.
  • 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.
  • Acted for a leading New Zealand designer in prosecuting copyright infringement proceedings in the High Court.


  • Intellectual Property Society of Australia and New Zealand.

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