Multiple boxes of Hark and Zander Face Oil

Talking trademarking and protecting your business ideas with Theodore Doucas

Here at Hark & Zander, we have surrounded ourselves with top New Zealand companies who are helping us to succeed. 

As the famous saying goes: it takes a village… And we know we could never produce this incredible skincare for you without help. 

Once we knew we were onto something special, we jumped on getting our trademarking and IP sorted immediately. 


That meant a phone call to Theodore Doucas over at Zone Law! 

We have worked with Theo and his amazing team through my (Kirsty’s) other company’s since 2010. 

They never fail to go ‘over and above’ in advising us and anticipating our needs before we know we have them. 


We talk with Theo further about Zone Law and what makes them so great to work with. 


Kirsty Harkness (KH):  Please describe to us a bit about you and your normal day job. 

Theodore Doucas (TD): I am an intellectual property lawyer and business owner of a boutique Intellectual Property firm. We manage the intellectual portfolio of some of the best known and biggest brands in New Zealand and the world, as well as some awesome local brands and new and emerging players. I spend my day chatting and meeting with clients about their IP needs, creating IP strategies, protecting clients brands, and travelling around the world to meet with clients and our overseas colleagues (although that is on pause at the moment).


(KH): Tell us what your connection is to Hark & Zander .

(TD): We assist Hark & Zander with their IP strategy and protect their brand both here New Zealand and around the world. 

We love helping brands like Hark & Zander get an advantage in the market by ensuring their brand is correctly protected in a timely, efficient and cost effective manner.


(KH): What made you decide on this industry path? 

(TD): I have been passionate about IP Law and helping people protect their brand ever since I worked at the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand. I was the Manager of Trademarks and an Assistant Commissioner of Patent, Trademarks and Designs. I find IP the most interesting branch of law, working with innovative companies and people who are constantly creating new products and brands.  It fits with my passion to help companies, both big and small, to protect their brands and reputations all around the world.


(KH): What makes you stay? 

(TD): Because I wanted to breakdown the mystery of IP law and allow any business owner to understand the need for protecting their brands, I created my own firm. I stay because I love what I do and the people I deal with on a daily basis.


(KH): What are some of the ways people from your industry are making a difference in the world? Focusing on what people care about, nature, sustainable, organic, earth, regenerative etc 

(TD): We help protect new ideas and brands for all sorts of new products and services for example carbon training, agriculture, and more sustainable food and beverage products. We also assist a number of charities in making sure their brands are protected as these brands can be very powerful as well.


(KH): What is the biggest challenge in the industry at the moment? Could be for yourselves or what you see for others 

(TD): Education is always a challenge for us as often IP is the last thing people think about when they start a company or launch a new product or service when it should be one of the first. A strong brand is often crucial to success and without protecting the brand business owners could be putting it in jeopardy.

(KH): What is the most exciting trend or innovation potential for you in 2020?  

(TD): We’ve always been quite forward thinking with our use of technology. We were the first New Zealand firm to have an online trade mark filing service and I have been working remotely as I travel for a number of years. However, this year we have come a long way in terms of our ability to work and connect with clients from anywhere. That said, for me the personal side of things is really important in business so now we are back to level 1, I am doing my best to get around the country and catch up with all of our awesome clients.


(KH): What makes you want to partner with Hark & Zander? 

(TD): The innovative thinking and approach of Kirsty and her ability to reinvent herself in so many different industries. We also love that H&S have a really powerful and unique brand.


(KH): What future product would you love us to look at making next? Why?

(TD): Pain relief for joints !!!


(KH): Any interesting fact or story you would like to share?

(TD): We love working with Kirsty and can’t wait to see what she does next!


Great chat, thanks Theo for the insight, and encouraging us all at Hark & Zander. We love working with you guys and are definitely working on a beautiful balm for sore joints!

For our blog readers that are looking for trademarking advice, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Zone Law’s whole amazing team.