As well as being a lawyer, I am a Registered Trans-Tasman Patent Attorney, and a Registered Australian Trade Mark Attorney. I worked for over 10 years in specialist patent attorney and IP firms before joining the team at Saunders & Co in 2015.
I advise local clients looking to protect and exploit the intangible assets in their business. This may include all aspects of intellectual property, from simple matters, such as protecting a company name, to the complexities of protection of designs, brands, ideas, and inventions through copyright, trademarks, and patents. If disputes arise, I work with clients to pursue commercially realistic solutions.
I also work for international clients looking to protect and maintain their IP rights in New Zealand and Australia, and with our full commercial and litigation teams, offer support in developing their business interests in New Zealand and enforcing their rights here.
Working with our commercial teams, I have experience in licensing intangible assets, and work to cover issues with intangibles that may arise during the sale and purchase of a business, or entering a franchise or distribution agreement. I also undertake civil litigation work in the District Court and High Court, as well as IPONZ hearings.
A key aim is to provide clients with clear communication and regular updates throughout what can be a complex and unfamiliar process.
My technical background is in a BSc(Hons) in Physics and ME(Elec) from the University of Canterbury. My post-graduate work was in the Nanostructure Engineering Science and Technology (NEST) group, focussing on the fabrication and characterisation of wide band-gap semiconductors, particularly Gallium Nitride, which was one of the first materials used to make blue LEDs, and can be used to make UV detectors. I enjoy learning how things work, and identifying and resolving issues.
I specialise in the following areas:
What My Clients Say
“Welhaus engaged Virginia Nichols of Saunders & Co to work on a case where we argued another party couldn’t monopolise a generic name for a process. From the outset, Virginia’s confidence, decisiveness and expertise in the field were evident and she quickly presented us with some good, clear options for moving forward. We appreciated her evidence-based approach, specific knowledge of the subject and willingness to dig deeper into the matter. This greatly helped our decision-making process and resulted in a speedy conclusion, achieved in just a few days. The process even proved inexpensive given Virginia’s efficiency. The experience of dealing with Virginia and Saunders & Co was refreshing and I have no hesitation in recommending them to others.”
Dan Tremewan, Welhaus
“I’d like to take this opportunity to personally recommend Virginia Nichols, currently a Senior Associate with the Christchurch legal firm Saunders & Co. It must be said that Virginia is a unique and special person. She is not only skilled and very capable at her craft – but better still she actually listens to the client, finds out their total requirements and then efficiently moulds their needs into a strong legal format. Importantly she is not afraid to advise her clients where she believes an aspect of their demands may be unreasonable or inappropriate, doing so with caring and a gentle yet firm approach. Virginia sees herself as a regular down to earth individual with a burn to help others and make a difference. She truly does that in spades!”