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Annette Freeman
Principal, Freeman IP

Annette is a qualified Australian lawyer with extensive experience in the management of trade mark portfolios for a wide range of clients, from individuals to multinational companies. Her professional work has included providing advice on trade mark protection strategy and registration action, and she is an experienced advocate in IP. Building on this background, she has developed a lively interest and strong skills in marketing, promotional and business development in IP, including strategic planning, promotional writing, use of social media and vision for future business growth and excellence.

"I'd love to put those specialities to use in solving your IP challenges."

With more than thirty years experience in the field of trade marks law and practice, Annette has worked in Australia for both local companies needing worldwide protection and foreign businesses needing to protect their valuable brands in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific region. She began with the prominent Sydney firm of Spruson & Ferguson in 1979, and pursued her professional life with this firm. She was a principal of the firm from 1996 to 2008. From 2009 to 2011 she acted as an exclusive consultant to the firm.

"All those years add up to honed skills and a wide network in the trade mark profession." 

Career highlights
After obtaining her Masters in IP (covering trade marks, copyright, designs and patents) Annette ventured into academia and designed and taught the course in Trade Mark Practice at University of Technology Sydney for some years, including taking that course from face-to-face to full online delivery.

"Teaching and training have been a core component of my professional experience."

She served as a Board Member of the Australian Patent Attorneys Professional Standards Board 2005-2007, a government-appointed board which oversees the IP profession in Australia, including the training regime for aspiring attorneys.

"Working on a government board was rewarding - and revealing. I learnt a lot about the concerns of practitioners across the IP field." 

She has been involved with the International Trademarks Association (INTA) since attending her first Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida in 1995, and has been active for many years in the volunteer committees of INTA. Annette served as the Chair of the Parallel Imports Committee 2006–2007 and on the Board of Directors of INTA for four years, 2008 to 2011.

"What would the trade mark profession be like without INTA? It has been great to be involved for so many years, and to have forged so many fantastic relationships."

In 2008 Annette became a co-author of the Fourth Edition of 'Shanahan on Trade Marks', the seminal text on Australian trade mark law and practice, available in hard cover and as an online subscription.

"Dan Shanahan, the original author of this text, was a principal of Spruson & Ferguson and in fact hired me back in 1979. I benefitted so much from Dan's mentoring in my early years in the profession. A circle is complete."

Other interesting things
For a year and a half, 2003 - 2005, Annette owned a bookshop cafe in Sydney City, and thus learned first-hand about the challenges and rewards of small business owners. She met a wide variety of interesting people, and developed skills in the oversight of managers of the bookshop and cafe. She chronicled her experiences in the published memoir "Tea In The Library". Warming to the satisfactions of writing, Annette also published the story of her climb of Mt Kilimanjaro in 2007, "Mt Kilimanjaro & Me". Both books are available on amazon.com in hard copy or digital versions.

"Tea In The Library"

"Mt Kilimanjaro & Me"


Birkbeck College, University of London
Master of Philosophy (MA)
2010 – 2011

University of Technology, Sydney
Master of Laws (LLM)
1995 – 1996

The Australian National University, Canberra
Bachelor of Arts (English and History)
Bachelor of Law (BA/LLB)
1974 – 1978