Christopher Young


Christopher is a widely recognised intellectual property expert with an extensive international practice and network. He is known for his technical expertise and pragmatic advice. Consistently ranked as a leading IP lawyer in legal directories, he assists with all aspects of IP through its lifecycle including development, protection, transfer, enforcement, and commercialisation. He has significant experience in media, film, and television production, and regulatory work in the pharmaceutical and medical sectors.

Head of the firm’s IP team, Chris specialises in IP, brand strategy, trade marks, commercial IP, licensing, franchising, marketing, sponsorship, privacy, IP disputes, enforcement, and IP audits. Chris has significant expertise handling the IP aspects of M&A and other corporate transactions.

Commercial IP is a key part of Chris’ practice. He has more than 20 years’ experience in licensing and commercialisation, franchising, and commercial arrangements. He routinely advises on and develops strategy for IP aspects of corporate transactions.

Recognised for local and international brand strategy and managing trade mark portfolios, he manages risks, launches new brands, develops strategies to commercialise, protects and enforces brands, trouble shoots problems, and handles counterfeits. He is experienced with sponsorship, marketing, advertising, privacy, consumer protection, and other regulatory areas.

Both local and international clients benefit from Chris’ breadth of experience. He takes time to understand his clients’ businesses and develops strong and ongoing relationships as their trusted adviser. His clients operate in numerous industries including FMCG, fashion/apparel, publishing, food and beverage, liquor, advertising and marketing, retail, TMT, media, aviation, automotive, banking and financial services, entertainment, agriculture/horticulture, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, building, forestry, education, health and ageing, transportation, and energy.

Chris is recognised as a leading IP lawyer in legal directories, including Chambers, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific (Hall of Fame), Managing IP and WIPR. WTR1000 2022 recommends Chris, noting: “The IP practice at MinterEllisonRuddWatts is hallmarked by its strategic sophistication and impeccable transactional capabilities. The team can always be relied on to come up with the most commercially viable solution. Epitomising this is the dexterous head of IP Christopher Young, who has extensive involvement with many INTA committees and is always ready to deliver the top-notch brand protection and Trans-Tasman trademark law advice.” As one client says, “…we have found him to be extremely personable and overall, he has been a huge asset to us. Chris considers options and solutions that are both unique to the position of our business, and economically efficient. We always trust that we are in the best hands with Chris. Integrity, efficiency and quality is always delivered" – The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2022.

Chris has worked in London and is actively involved in the International Trademarks Association (INTA) and the International Bar Association (IBA). He has chaired INTA’s East Asia Pacific Famous Marks subcommittee, and been on the Parallel Imports Committee, Internet Committee, and the Asia Pacific Global Advisory Council. Chris is currently the co-Chair of the INTA Bulletin Asia-Pacific sub-committee.

Chris’ film, digital and television production work includes the New Zealand film grant regime. He has acted for many years for a range of major US studios on some of the leading productions filmed or produced in New Zealand.

Career highlights

Providing ongoing IP advice and worldwide strategy for SkyCity – a major New Zealand group and publicly listed company operating casinos, food and beverage and entertainment facilities in New Zealand and Australia.

Advising numerous well known international brands on local IP strategy, trade mark registration in New Zealand and Australia. Clients include ASOS, Birkenstock, Univar, Sorbent, Tena, Havells, The Saul Zaentz Company, Scholastic Inc, Essity Hygiene and Health AB and BSN Medical GmbH.

Advising a wide range of local export based businesses on their international IP and brand strategy and portfolio management internationally including local apparel businesses such as Icebreaker and iLabb, and premium natural lipstick company, Karen Murrell Enterprises.

Handling the IP aspects of M&A and other corporate transactions, including acting for multinationals buying local companies and for local businesses selling. Examples include SC Johnson’s acquisition of a New Zealand IP based business/product that was then rolled out internationally by SC Johnson under its Raid brand, Froneri’s acquisition of Tip Top, and LIC’s sale of part of its business to MSD Animal Health (a division of Merck & Co, Inc).

Advising numerous major US and international studios on their film and television production in New Zealand including IP, structural and grant requirements.

  • Director, Pharmaco New Zealand Limited and Pharmaco Australia Pty Limited
  • Co-Chair, Asia-Pacific Bulletin Sub-committee, International Trademark Association (INTA), 2019-2023
  • Member, International Trademark Association (INTA)
  • Member, Intellectual Property Society of Australia and New Zealand (IPSANZ)
  • Member, Licensing Executives Society of Australia and New Zealand (LESANZ)
  • Member, American Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand Inc
  • Member, BioTech New Zealand
Achievements and recognition
  • Hall of Fame, Intellectual Property, The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific
  • Band 1, Intellectual Property, Chambers Asia-Pacific
  • Recognised, Copyright & related rights, Managing IP, IP Stars, 2023
  • Winner, Trademark Law Expert of the Year, New Zealand, 2024
  • Winner, IP Law Expert of the Year, New Zealand, 2024
  • Awarded, Trade mark star, IP Stars, 2023
  • Winner, IP Law Expert of the Year, New Zealand, 2024
  • Recognised, IP – Trademarks, Who's Who Legal: Global
  • Recognised, IP – Trademarks, Who's Who Legal: Australia and New Zealand
  • Recognised, IP – Copyright, Who's Who Legal: Australia and New Zealand
  • Recognised, Transactions, Prosecution and Strategy, World Trademark Review (WTR1000)
  • Recognised, WIPR Leader, World Intellectual Property Review
  • Recognised, IP Expert in New Zealand, Asia IP
  • Recognised, Leading IP Trademark firm, 2022, Asia IP, 2022
  • Recognised, Intellectual Property Law, Best Lawyers
  • Winner, Client Choice Award (Intellectual Property: Trademarks, New Zealand), Lexology, 2019
  • Winner, Most Influential IP Lawyer, New Zealand, Acquisition International Global Excellence Awards, 2020, 2022
  • Winner, Trademarks Law Firm of the Year in New Zealand, Legal 100 Asia Awards, 2019