John Swinson

John Swinson

John Swinson is Partner-in-Charge of our Brisbane office where he specialises in intellectual property and technology law. Over the past 25 years, John has acted for many high profile technology corporations, internet companies, investors and financial institutions. He has considerable experience in the domestic and international aspects of copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, Internet and privacy laws.

John represents clients in a wide range of business fields, including banks, publishers, software companies, hotels, mining companies, governments and venture capitalists. He advises clients on legal matters involving technology, including obtaining protection for new products and services, commercialising technology, enforcing rights, licensing and litigation.

John's patent litigation experience has primarily involved computer, electrical and mechanical areas, with particular emphasis on computer networking, computer security, internet applications and financial and trading systems.

He has litigated a number of leading cases, including matters concerning software patents, copyright in computer programs, copyright in newspaper headlines, trade secret misappropriation by employees, trade mark infringement, trade mark ownership, software piracy, misleading online advertising, domain name cybersquatting and failed computer implementations.

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John's expertise also includes tendering, outsourcing negotiations, licensing, government contracting and technology procurement.

John is an Adjunct Professor of Law at QUT Law School.  He taught the "Cyberlaw" masters course at QUT for over 10 years.

As an expert panelist for WIPO, John has decided over 200 domain name ownership disputes.

John is admitted to practice as a lawyer in both Australia and New York State.

John has been nominated as a leading lawyer in a number of prestigious legal directories including Best Lawyers Australia (from 2009 to 2014), Chambers Asia Pacific 2012, 2013 and 2014; PLC Which lawyer?, the Asia IP Patent Survey 2010, and APL Legal 500 (2010).  John was recognised by Best Lawyers Australia as the Information Technology Lawyer of the Year (Queensland - 2013) and Intellectual Property Lawyer of the Year (Queensland - 2014).   John was also recognised by the Australian Financial Review in 2012 and 2013 as one of the top 500 lawyers in Australia. The Brisbane intellectual property practice was recognised by Best Lawyers Australia (2010) as the number 1 intellectual property practice in Brisbane.

John is a former President of the Australian Fulbright Alumni Association.

John graduated from Harvard Law School in 1991, in the graduating class with Barack Obama.


  • 1988: Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours and Gold Medal), University of Queensland
  • 1986: Bachelor of Arts (Computer Science), University of Queensland
  • 1989-1990: Law Clerk, Federal Court of Australia
  • 1990: Solicitor, Mallesons Stephen Jaques, Brisbane
  • 1990: Fulbright Scholar
  • 1991: Master of Laws, Harvard Law School
  • 1991-1996: Associate, Kenyon & Kenyon, New York City
  • 1995-1996: New York Correspondent, Computer Law Association Bulletin
  • 1995-present: Country Correspondent, Computer & Telecommunications Law Review
  • 1997-1998: Senior Associate, Mallesons Stephen Jaques, Brisbane
  • 1999-present: Adjunct Professor, Queensland University of Technology; course coordinator of "Cyberlaw and Policy"
  • 1999-2012: Partner, Mallesons Stephen Jaques, Brisbane
  • 2000-present: Domain Name Arbitrator, WIPO panel
  • 2012-present: Partner, King & Wood Mallesons, Brisbane

Recent Matters

  • Successfully defended LexisNexis in leading copyright case brought by Australian Financial Review relating to copyright in newspaper headlines.
  • Successfully defended computer programmer in Federal Court in relation to allegations of copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation brought by former employer.
  • Successfully defended Canstar Blue in a misleading conduct claim brought by SpecSavers regarding publication of a consumer survey.
  • Successfully represented Australian artist, Richard Bell, in copyright dispute regarding film ownership and obtain substantial damages award for unjustified threats.
  • Representing Microsoft Corporation in patent litigation in Federal Court in Australia.
  • Enforced trade mark rights in Queensland Federal Court's first Fast Track case, relating to misleading websites and domain names used by competitor of Mantra Hotel Group.
  • DVP Media's sale of business to Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
  • Represented RP Data in acqusition of ValEx business and divesture of Megaw & Hogg valuation business.
  • Representing the brand owners of Stolichnaya Vodka in litigation with the Russian Government.
  • Represented owners of Stolichnaya vodka in litigation with Australian distributor, Diaego.
  • Negotiated and renegotiated Bank of Queensland's information technology and business process outsourcing with EDS (HP).
  • Obtained multi-million dollar settlement for Brisbane City Council in lawsuit against MITS regarding failed computer system.
  • Represented Microsoft Corporation in patent litigation and patent opposition involving validity of digital rights management patents.
  • Successfully recovered domain names from cybersquatters for Westpac under UDRP and auDRP procedures.
  • Negotiated Xstrata's information technology outsourcing agreements with CSC, Mincom and Datacom.


  • Australian Fulbright Alumni Association
  • American Bar Association
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • Copyright Society of the United States
  • Harvard Law School Association


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21 June 2018

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