Tom Cleary Tom Cleary

Tom Cleary

Senior Associate

Litigation & dispute resolution
Intellectual property

Tom is an experienced advocate with particular expertise in helping clients resolve intellectual property, media, privacy and consumer protection disputes.

He has represented clients in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, in arbitrations and mediations, and before the Intellectual Property Office in significant disputes ranging from patent infringement actions and defamation proceedings to negligence claims and regulatory actions.

A registered Australian Trade Marks Attorney and trainee patent attorney, Tom also assists clients with protecting, enhancing and enforcing their intellectual property rights in New Zealand and Australia. 

Tom co-authors the patent and copyright infringement sections in New Zealand’s leading intellectual property commentary, Intellectual Property Law, published by LexisNexis.  He also contributes to Morison’s Company and Securities Law

Before joining Chapman Tripp in 2018, Tom was a junior barrister at Shortland Chambers.  He was formerly a judge’s clerk at the High Court and clerk to the Rules Committee.   

Tom is recognised as a rising star by Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2023, Managing IP 2022 and NZ Lawyer 2021.

Recent highlights

  • Representing Fisher & Paykel Healthcare in patent opposition proceedings
  • Acting for Zuru in proceedings against the Lego Group concerning trade mark protection, passing off and breaches of the Fair Trading Act 1986
  • Representing high-net-worth individuals, public figures and organisations in significant defamation and invasion of privacy proceedings
  • Advising media organisations on defamation, media standards and privacy issues, including pre-publication vetting
  • Acting for a leading engineering consultancy in the High Court in a defending a significant negligence claim involving limitation periods and contribution claims
  • Helping leading New Zealand and Australian designers stop copyright infringement of their designs
  • Assisted James Hardie in major weathertightness litigation


  • Intellectual Property Society of Australia and New Zealand (IPSANZ)
  • International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI)

Others in the team

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