Peter Dengate Thrush

Peter Dengate Thrush

Partner, Wellington


  • B.Sc. (Zoology/Geology) Victoria University of Wellington
  • LLB. Victoria University of Wellington. 
  • Registered Patent Attorney in New Zealand and Australia. 
  • Admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor in New Zealand and Victoria, Australia.

Work History

Peter has over 40 years’ experience in the profession, joining a national New Zealand firm in 1980, becoming a partner in 1985. He practiced in the trademark, then the patent department, serving as head of the patent department from 1987 to 1995. He founded the in-house law firm and was for many years the senior litigation partner.

Peter founded the firm’s bio-practice group responsible for the drafting, prosecution and exploitation of patents relating to bio-technological inventions. Through the Patent Committee of the Association of Biotech Companies he worked with the US National Institute of Health, and Dr Craig Venter on Dr Venter’s patents on expression sequence tags, arising from the Human Genome Project. 

Peter was commissioned by the Waitangi Tribunal investigating the Wai 262 Claim to write a report on New Zealand’s laws involving IP rights to indigenous plants and animals, published in May 1995. He assisted the Royal Commission into Genetic Modification with intellectual property aspects of its Report.

He is one of the few experts in New Zealand on “internet law” as a specialist topic. He served as President of Internet NZ, APTLD (the Asia Pacific Association of Top Level Domains) and as Chairman of the Board of ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). He helped write the UDRP- the dispute resolution system for all generic domain names, and assisted with the development of New Zealand dispute procedure .

Peter practiced at the independent IP bar from 1996 until 2020. He was a leading New Zealand barrister sole specializing in intellectual and industrial property, information technology, Internet and competition causes. He has appeared in most of the New Zealand Courts, including the Privy Council in London and in specialist tribunals such as the Taxation Review Authority and the Intellectual Property Office. Some of the more interesting reported decisions are listed in the Appendix.

Peter was a member, then Chairman, of the Electricity Rulings Panel from March 2008 to March 2020. He was appointed by the New Zealand Minister of Justice in 2010 as a member of the Copyright Tribunal. The tribunal deals with copyright infringement on the Internet through peer-to-peer file sharing, and licensing schemes. He was appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to the MAG, (“Multistakeholder Advisory Group) representing the Internet’s technical community. The MAG advises the Secretary General on the programme and schedule of the Internet Governance Forum meetings.  

He has been cited in the Guide to the World’s Leading Patent Law Experts and is a regular speaker at home and abroad on intellectual property topics. He is a member of the World Class New Zealand Network, which is dedicated to assisting New Zealand companies and entrepreneurs exporting New Zealand products and services to the world.


Peter is a current or past member of the International Bar Association, American Bar Association, International Trade Mark Association, New Zealand Institute of Patent Attorneys, Australian Institute of Patent Attorneys, American Intellectual Property Law Association, Association Internationale pour le Protection de la Propriete Intellectuelle, the North American Company Directors Association, and the Institute of Directors in New Zealand.

Cases as Counsel:

  1. Monsanto v. Stauffer Chemical Co [1984] FSR 559; [1985] RPC 515; 1 TCLR 129
  2. Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha Ltd v. Dow Chemical Co (1985) 5 IPR 415
  3. Midas International Inc v. Midas Autocare Ltd (1987) 2 TCLR 419
  4. Mann & Lindsay v. Attorney-General (1988) 3 TCLR 1
  5. Griffin & Sons Ltd v. Regina (1988) Ltd (1989) 19 IPR 425
  6. Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World v. Mellsop (1989) 3 PRNZ 366
  7. Douglas Pharmaceuticals Ltd v. Ciba Geigy (CA; 1989) 18 IPR 603; [1990] 2 NZLR 46
  8. Cadbury Confectionery Ltd v. Regina (1988) Ltd (1992) 6 PRNZ 47
  9. Country Colours v. Resene Paints Ltd (1992) 6 PRNZ 506
  10. 10.NZ Olympic & Commonwealth Games Assoc v. Telecom NZ Ltd (1996) 35 IPR 55
  11. 11.Independent Newspapers Ltd v. Australian Consolidated Press (1996) 9 PRNZ 526
  12. 12.Independent Newspapers Ltd v. Australian Consolidated Press Ltd [1996] 3 NZLR 722
  13. Stott v. Tuck (1997) 10 PRNZ 649
  14. Glogau v. Land Transport Safety Authority of NZ [1998] 3 NZLR 353 (HC); [1999] 1 NZLR 257 (CA); [1999] 1 NZLR 261 (CA)
  15. Oggi Advertising Ltd v. McKenzie (1998) 12 PRNZ 535
  16. Fort Dodge New Zealand Ltd v. Ashmont Holdings Ltd (2001) 10 TCLR 18
  17. Geneva Marketing (1998) Limited v Johnson & Johnson  [2009] NZCA 591
  18. Hoyle and Transpread v Hoyle CIV 2011-454-910 [2015] NZHC 3282 (Patent Revocation)
  19. Hoyle and Transpread v Hoyle CIV 2011-454-910 [2015] NZHC 3001 (Copyright Infringement)

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