Tom Cleary Tom Cleary

Tom Cleary

Senior Associate

Litigation & dispute resolution
Intellectual property

Tom specialises in commercial litigation and dispute resolution. He has particular expertise in intellectual property, media, privacy, tort and trust law.

An experienced litigator, Tom has appeared in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court for a range of private and public sector clients. He also is adept at alternative dispute resolution.  Before joining Chapman Tripp, he was a junior barrister at Shortland Chambers where he worked alongside some of New Zealand’s leading advocates. He was formerly a judges’ clerk and clerk to the Rules Committee. 

Tom co-authors the patent and copyright infringement sections in New Zealand’s leading intellectual property commentary, Intellectual Property Law. He also co-authors the commentary in Morison’s Company and Securities Law on shareholder distributions.

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

Recent highlights 

  • Representing clients, including Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and Assa Abloy, in complex patent litigation.
  • Appearing 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.
  • Representing MediaWorks in the High Court and Court of Appeal defending a claim to journalistic source protection.
  • Appearing in the High Court and Court of Appeal in novel Fair Trading Act 1986 claims.
  • Acting for leading New Zealand designers in prosecuting and stopping copyright infringement.
  • Appearing in the Supreme Court successfully arguing that a commercial property was not held in beneficial trust.


  • Intellectual Property Society of Australia and New Zealand.

Others in the team

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