Ceri Wells

Areas of Expertise

Trade Marks, Copyright, Licensing & Commercialisation, Design Registrations, Anti-counterfeiting, Trade Secrets & Non-Disclosure, International Filings, Renewals & Maintenance, Geographic Indications (GI), Fair Trade
Qualifications & Memberships
  • Bachelor of Laws
  • Master of Arts (English/French)
  • Registered Patent Attorney - Australia and New Zealand
  • Registered Trade Mark Attorney - Australia
  • Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand
  • Fellow - New Zealand Intellectual Property Attorneys Inc (NZIPA) and member of its Examinations Board
  • Member - Licensing Executives Society of Australia and New Zealand (LESANZ)
  • Member - International Trade Mark Association (INTA)
  • Member - Intellectual Property Institute of Canada
  • New Zealand representative - Asian Patent Attorneys Association (APAA) Trade Marks committee

About Ceri

Ceri is a founding partner of James & Wells, a past president of the New Zealand Institute of Patent Attorneys, an experienced patent and trade mark attorney, and an outspoken champion of innovation.

As an experienced lawyer and patent attorney who has had extensive involvement in drafting and prosecuting patent applications, litigation and commercialisation, Ceri is often called on to provide companies with a high level overview of their business from an IP perspective, and develop innovation policies and IP strategies to fit the business objectives of the enterprise.

He is frequently published in journals, newspapers and magazines where he exposes the problems faced by innovative businesses, calls for change in government policy, and generates discussion on increasing innovation efficiency.

These days much of Ceri’s practice focusses on developing brands and trade mark ownership strategies for clients, clearing trade marks for use, and registering them in New Zealand and worldwide. He advises on trade mark conflict and enforcement issues, with a broad range of industry expertise. Over the last ten years Ceri has focused a lot of his attention on understanding the laws, practices and business environments in New Zealand’s key Asian trading partners and building strong connections with colleagues in Asia who can help James & Wells’s clients do business better in Asia.

In his spare time, Ceri can be found in the outdoors skiing, golfing, surfing, fishing, scuba diving and boating. These activities, fortunately, offset his passion for good food, cold beer and great wine.


Over the last 30 years Ceri has drafted and prosecuted hundreds of patent applications, represented clients in the High Court and Court of Appeal in some of New Zealand’s leading IP cases, specialised in IP commercialisation, and more recently, focussed on trade mark, unfair competition and copyright matters, which now form the bulk of his practice.

Ceri has had involvement as a director and shareholder in several start-up companies, and is an entrepreneur at heart. He is responsible for initiating and overseeing the development of James & Wells’ very successful Asia Team which has been adept at facilitating business between New Zealand and Chinese companies, as well as looking after the IP needs of Australasian companies in Asia, and Asian companies in New Zealand and Australia.

Ceri is listed as a leading lawyer in the 2017 edition of Asia IP Experts and 2020/21 edition of Managing IP Stars. He was ranked by World Trademark Review as a leading practitioner in prosecution and strategy, with judges commenting “The firm was founded by patent and trademark ace Ceri Wells, an incisive brand strategist who is equally comfortable advising behind the scenes as he is on the frontlines of enforcement. “Efficient and easy to work with, Ceri has extensive knowledge of trademarks and never fails to come up with solutions. His international trademark expertise is also essential.”

Insights by Ceri Wells