The 2019 Lineup


Michael Schwager

Director General
IP Australia

Michael commenced with IP Australia on 20 September 2018 as Director General.

Prior to his appointment Michael spent three years as Chief Operating Officer at the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. He also spent time as acting Chief Operating Officer at CSIRO from June to Sept 2018.

Michael has had a varied career across innovation, science and education policy and has been responsible for:

  • implementing innovation programs, including the $3B R&D tax incentive

  • developing med-tech, pharma-bio, small business and industry policy

  • attracting foreign investment into Australian high tech industries

  • leading trade and multilateral negotiations in food, agriculture and energy.

From 2012 to 2015 Michael was based in the Washington DC Embassy as Minister Counsellor (Industry, Science and Education). He also spent five years in Parliament House as a researcher and speechwriter, and two years as an auditor for a large multinational accounting firm.


Dr Jordan Nguyen

Biomedical Engineer
Founder of Psykinetic

Dr. Jordan Nguyen is a young man on a mission to change the world. He is an acclaimed thought leader on the intersection between technology and humanity.

Upon completing his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Technology Sydney, Jordan was accepted into the prestigious UTS Chancellor’s List. Now his mission is to improve the lives of as many people as possible. As founder of Psykinetic he designs life-changing technologies focusing on intelligent, futuristic and inclusive technology.

Drawing on his experience of almost breaking his own neck, Jordan developed a mind-controlled smart wheelchair for people with high-level physical disability.

A hot topic of discussion in the media, Jordan’s work has been featured in a range of TV, radio, magazine and newspaper interviews, including ABC’s Catalyst and Channel TEN’s The Project.


Justin Dry


Justin is an Entrepreneur, Investor and Co-Founder + CEO of Vinomofo, an Australian startup success story. Launched in April 2011 from a little garage in Adelaide, Vinomofo has grown quickly and profitably to a run rate of over $50m revenue, 400,000 members, and a team of 100.

Awarded Spotify Young Entrepreneur of the Year at The Australian Startup Awards, Justin is a BRW Young Rich Lister and has been named one of the Top 50 People in E-Commerce 2016, 2017 and 2018 by Internet Retailing.

Justin is a regular on TV and radio shows which have included Squawk Box - CNBC Asia, Bloomberg Asia, Sky News Business, The Business - ABC, Channel 9 News, Insight – SBS, The Entrepreneurs Show – Sky Business and was one of the stars of the film ‘The New Hustle’ – a feature-length documentary that follows the personal journey of three of Australia's most successful startups.


Erik Wilbers

Senior Director, Arbitration & Mediation Center
World Intellectual Property Organization

Erik Wilbers is the Director of the Arbitration and Mediation Center of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).  Maintaining offices in Geneva and Singapore, the WIPO Center provides global services for efficiently resolving technology and intellectual property disputes without court litigation.

Following studies in The United States and The Netherlands, Erik was a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property Law.  Before joining WIPO, he practiced with the law firm of Clifford Chance, was on the legal staff of the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal, and headed a division of the Compensation Commission of the United Nations Security Council.

Erik oversees WIPO’s provision of resources to intellectual property stakeholders to help them conclude their disputes in a time and cost-effective manner. The WIPO Center focuses on the appointment of quality arbitrators, mediators, and experts, and on safeguarding the efficiency of proceedings. 

Erik furthermore oversees the management of Internet domain name cases filed with the WIPO Center. 


Dan Plane


Dan is experienced in all facets of intellectual property law, in particular, anti-counterfeiting and IP enforcement.

Admitted in Hong Kong, Australia (Victoria), and Wisconsin (USA), he has practiced extensively in the US (as both a patent litigator and public prosecutor), Europe (as EMEA anti-counterfeiting counsel for Nokia) and in the PRC and Asia Pacific, both as in-house counsel for Louis Vuitton (managing its AP anti-counterfeiting program), as well as in private practice with two of the world’s leading international law firms and one of Australia’s premier IP practices.

Dan acts on behalf of a wide range of clients, including garment manufacturers, electronics and computer companies, pharmaceuticals companies, and luxury goods manufacturers. Of particular note is his wealth of experience in designing and managing regional intellectual property programs and IP security programs in supply chain and distribution contexts.

Dan is a frequent speaker and writer on intellectual property topics, having published articles on online counterfeiting, the development of landlord liability theory, trade secrets protection and the design and management of Asia-based supply chain programs. Dan also serves on the International Trademark Association’s Anti-Counterfeiting Committee.

Fluent in Chinese Mandarin, Dan has practiced as a China IP specialist for nearly 18 years. He has been recognized as a China “IP Star” by Managing IP Magazine.


Anna Gibson

Director – Intellectual Property
Treasury Wine Estates

Anna Gibson is the Global Director of Intellectual Property at Treasury Wine Estates – one of the world’s largest wine companies, listed on the Australia Securities Exchange. Ms Gibson leads the company’s global IP group and is responsible for the development and implementation of its IP policies and procedures, and the protection and enforcement of its wine brands in over 150 countries worldwide – which include Penfolds, Wolf Blass, 19 Crimes, Lindemans, Matua, Seppelt, Beringer and Beaulieu Vineyards. Anna has also been responsible for the roll out of a proactive and comprehensive brand protection program across Asia to monitor and enforce against copycat and counterfeit operators in the online and offline space.

Before joining Treasury Wine Estates, Ms Gibson worked in the IP corporate and litigation teams of top-tier firms in Europe, New Zealand and Australia, for a range of leading brands in the fast-moving consumer goods, healthcare and fashion industries. Her formal qualifications include a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Science (Hons) from the University of Auckland.


Jarred Twigg


Jarred Twigg is an IP Manager and advocate of IP for business with training across product design, IP law and commercialisation. He notes he has had the fortune of working for Breville under the guidance of Richard Hoare, Design & Innovation Director, in an IP related capacity since 2010. Breville designs innovative consumer-centric products for distribution to over 70 countries and has one of Australia’s most awarded product development teams and consistently high new patent filing rates.

Jarred has experience in freedom to operate, IP capture and commercialisation strategies with an aim to delivering optimised stakeholder outcomes for the mid-cap publicly listed company. This includes strategies to protect existing consumer-facing competitive advantages and future-proof new product pathways in Australasia, China, Europe and North America. Given Breville’s long relationship with and exposure to China, Jarred has strong experience working cooperatively with Chinese businesses on various IP activities.


Asta Valdimarsdottir

Director, Madrid Information and Promotion Division, Brands and Designs Sector, Madrid Registry, WIPO

Asta Valdimarsdottir has been Director in the Madrid Registry, Brands and Designs Sector of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) since August 2013. She is currently the Director of Information and Promotion Division of the Madrid Registry. Before that she was the Director of Operations Division of the Madrid Registry until October 2018. She joined WIPO in October 2010 as the Head of the Operations Service in the Madrid Registry.

From November 2001 until October 2010 Asta was the Director General of the Icelandic Patent Office. Prior to that she was the Head of Legal Affairs at the Icelandic Patent Office, and held other positions in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, leading projects on preparation of Iceland’s accession to many international agreements in the field of IP, including TRIPS agreement, Patent Cooperation Treaty, Madrid Protocol, etc. Subsequently, she worked on Iceland’s Accession to the European Patent Convention (EPC) and the implementation of the Convention in Iceland, which took place in 2004.

Asta Valdimarsdottir has been representing Iceland in international organizations in the IP field. She has been Head of delegations participating in WIPO, World Trade Organization (WTO), European Patent Office (EPO), European Free Trade Association (EFTA) meetings and other international forums. She worked on establishing the Nordic Patent Institute - NPI (an International Search Authority for PCT) and was a member of the Board from 2008 to 2010. During 2007-2010, she was a member of the Board for the Administrative Council in EPO and a member of the Supervisory Board for the European Academy.


Tegan Van Nispen

Assistant General Manager, Trade Marks and Designs Group, IP Australia

Tegan Van Nispen is an Assistant General Manager of the Trade Marks and Designs Group in IP Australia. She has a background in both law and commerce, and has found intellectual property to be the perfect mix of the two fields. Tegan is passionate about supporting small businesses with their intellectual property journey and she has been involved in numerous activities aimed at educating and supporting small businesses, including information sessions, webinars, summits and conferences. She has worked with IP Australia for over 6 years and leads a section of more than 25 Trade Mark Examiners at IP Australia who are committed to helping applicants pursue their trade mark applications.


Jack Lu

E-commerce Advisor

Jack Lu is e-Commerce advisor from Austrade. After joining Austrade, Jack has been working with key global online marketplaces and is very keen in developing global cross border e-Commerce ecosystem for Australian exporters. This will help Australian companies get started in exporting and help brands of all sizes to use online channels to reach customers overseas where they may not be able to through traditional bricks and mortar.


Katrina O’Shaughnessy

Account Manager

As the Key Account Manager for Health More, Katrina O’Shaughnessy is responsible for the incubation, development and navigation of Australian and New Zealand brands into cross-border ecommerce markets in China.

At Health More, Katrina works closely with major brands across the health, wellness and beauty industries, to create strategies for product growth and distribution into the China market.

Katrina’s passion for the industry comes from many years of hands on experience with multiple brands connecting businesses with consumers to create measurable growth.


Ulric Ferner

Venture Associate
Right Click Capital

Ulric is a Principal at Right Click Capital, a VC fund that invests in technology businesses with global ambitions. He has product expertise in deep tech. (e.g., cybersecurity, spacetech, AI & machine learning), and has done product development at a number of startups. He did his Ph.D. in Computer Science at MIT in Boston and is an alumni of Boston Consulting Group. For kicks, he has a few patents and loves coming up with creative tests for product/market fit.


Nick Henderson

Director - China Practice
Asialink Business

Nick has more than 17 years of experience in business development and operations in Mainland China and is fluent in Mandarin. Prior to joining Asialink Business, Nick was the China General Manager for the Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG) brand strategy firm, FutureBrand and worked on projects for Alibaba Group, Bank of Shanghai, Daimler Benz, CITIC Private Equity, Mengniu, Yintai Group, Changhong and the Shanghai government (Lujiazui Group). 

Asialink Business’ China Practice is a leading centre of excellence for practical business engagement with China. The Practice is a hub of market leading research, training, strategy and expertise, providing an unmatched offering for businesses seeking to understand the market, expand or grow in China.


Ashley Newland

Managing Director and Patent Attorney

Ashley Newland graduated with First Class Honours in Biotechnology and was awarded the Amgen Australia prize for the top Biotechnology thesis in South Australia. Backed by a Kidney Health Australia scholarship, Ashley completed his PhD in Medical research at Adelaide University. His postdoctoral work on mesenchymal stem cells highlighted the importance of intellectual property in the Biotechnology industry and was the prompt for Ashley to get his Masters in Industrial Property and begin career as a patent attorney.  

A break from his patent attorney work to travel around Africa was the spark that led him to the create the Scrubba wash bag - the world's smallest washing machine for travel. Ashley quit his job in 2011 to manufacture, market and distribute his invention. With over 130,000 travellers using Scrubba wash bags around the world and an annual turnover in the millions, the Scrubba brand is a demonstration of the scalability of innovative products and the importance of solid intellectual property. The Scrubba brand attracted investment in 2015.   


Matthew Bryan

Director, PCT Legal and User Relations Division, Patents and Technology Sector, WIPO

Matthew Bryan has served as Director of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) Legal and User Relations Division at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) since 2004.

In his role, Mr. Bryan is responsible for providing PCT legal and strategic advice to users, providing PCT legal advice to the staff of the PCT Services Department (which processes all PCT applications), overseeing the resolution of “special handling” cases, PCT-related teaching and training, managing relations with PCT users, providing the “PCT Infoline” service, advising PCT Contracting States on legal issues relating to their roles and responsibilities under the PCT, publishing the official PCT Gazette, managing the PCT portion of the WIPO website, and maintaining and publishing the PCT legal and informational texts, such as the Treaty and Regulations, the PCT Applicant’s Guide (updated weekly) and the PCT Newsletter (monthly). 

He is a frequent speaker on PCT and WIPO matters, and often represents the PCT and WIPO at meetings of national and international attorneys’ and IP owners’ associations. He teaches regularly in Masters of IP programs, has testified before parliamentary committees, and has also served as a PCT expert witness in litigation. On behalf of WIPO, he has taught about the PCT in 69 countries.

A national of the United States of America, Mr. Bryan joined WIPO in 1992. Before joining WIPO, Mr. Bryan served as a Law Clerk on the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to Judge Randall R. Rader and to Senior Judge Marion T. Bennett. He is a member of the State Bar of California since 1990.


Shon Fletcher

Manager, Quality Assurance and Engagement, AusIndustry

Shon is a Manager in the Research and Development Tax Incentive Branch at the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

He is a career civil servant with extensive experience in the formulation and implementation of economic policy.

During his varied career Shon has worked at the Department of the Prime Minister Cabinet, the Treasury as well as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

He also has extensive experience with Australia’s parliamentary system of government having worked in Treasury Ministerial offices, Industry Ministerial offices and serving as a Senate Committee secretary.


Charith Amarasinghe

Associate Director, SME - NSW & ACT

Qualifications: BSc (Hons) Business Management and Information Systems, Professional Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing

As Associate Director for SME, NSW and ACT, Charith is responsible for implementing and executing Efic’s origination strategy for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in NSW and the ACT. Working closely with clients, banks and other industry contacts, Charith provides tailored financial solutions to support a company’s growth aspirations when expanding offshore and winning export or export-related contracts.

Charith has more than 10 years’ experience in banking, finance and international business in Australia and Sri Lanka. Prior to joining Efic in 2014, he held a variety of positions in corporate, small business and retail banking with St George Bank and ING Direct.

Charith also has industry experience from his time at Hayleys Group and Avery Dennison (formerly Paxar Corporation), where he held various sales, account management and international business development positions, and dealt with prominent retailers like Marks & Spencer, Next, Tesco, Nike and Quantum Clothing Group.


Dom Bilbie

Assistant General Manager, Client Programs

Dom is responsible for delivery of the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme and other Austrade programs.

The EMDG scheme is a key Australian Government financial assistance program for small to medium, aspiring and growing export-ready Australian enterprises. EMDG encourages businesses to increase international marketing and promotion expenditure to achieve more sustainable international sales.

Dom’s background is in export, export assistance, litigation, financial services regulation and compliance. Dom lives in Sydney with his wife, son and two kelpies.


Noel Taloni

NSW State Office Manager

Noel is the AusIndustry NSW/ACT State Manager. He has more than 20 years’ experience working in the public sector on a range of health and business related programs. More recently he was involved in establishing the Business Grants Hub as part of the streamlining government grants administration program.

AusIndustry design, manage and deliver programs and services for the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science to drive Australian growth and job creation. We help to boost Australia’s competitiveness and facilitate economic transformation by backing business, science, innovation and investment through the delivery of flagship and other programs. Through our simple, accessible services and information, and streamlined interactions, AusIndustry is also recognised as a leading delivery arm of the government. AusIndustry focuses on industry-wide impacts by driving growth and development for target sectors and encouraging research investment. It targets firm-level impacts through internal and external program management and administration and integrated enabling services (including 13 28 46 and the National Outreach Network).


David Bennett

Intellectual Property Counsellor to China
IP Australia

As Australia's first Intellectual Property (IP) Counsellor to China, David engages with China on IP policy issues and provides Australians with practical guidance on how to protect their IP in China. He has been based at the Australian Embassy, Beijing, since December 2016. 

Originally joining IP Australia as a biotechnology patent examiner, David has also worked in the international, domestic, and trade policy sections. He was previously Director of Intellectual Property at a Los Angeles-based biomedical startup company. David has a technical background in molecular biology, studying in Australia, the USA and Japan.


Steve Oakley

Managing Director

Steve commenced with Heuch in 1984 in the Engineering Office and enjoyed the challenges so much he is still there today.

Heuch is a manufacturing and service company specialising in refrigeration, heating and cooling services, air conditioning services, environmental control and solar power.

At Heuch, Steve has a special interest in renewable technologies for food and produce cooling applications, with a focus on business profitability through continuous improvement. His role also extends to co-ordinating the company’s R&D Taxation Incentive program.

In addition to his duties at Heuch, Steve is a Director of Black Stump Technologies and Ecotop Ripening Australia. 

Steve is a Fellow of the CEO Institute.


Emma Lo Russo

CEO, Digivizer Pty Limited

Emma Lo Russo is an international business leader, strategist, speaker and writer. She is CEO of Digivizer, Australia’s leading digital technology and activations company, which she co-founded in 2010. Digivizer technology helps businesses understand, optimize, and make better decisions about their investment in digital marketing, across owned, earned and paid media.  

Emma is also CEO and founder of, a leading destination for all things gaming and esports.  

Across both companies Emma employs nearly 60 people in Australia and 13 other countries across Asia. Enterprise clients include Lenovo, Microsoft, Intel, Bethesda, Barilla, miRunners, Evergen, Snapfish, BluGlass, Rockend, Optus and PokitPal. 

Digivizer has been recognised in the SmartCompany Smart50, the Deloitte Technology Fast 50, has won three BigInsights Data Innovation Awards, and was placed at number 23 in the inaugural FT 1000: High-Growth Companies Asia-Pacific list in 2018.  

Emma won the 2014 Carnegie’s Den investment round which led to further funding, and is a Portfolio CEO for Heads Over Heels. She is a recipient of the AGSM Anita Prabhu Women Leaders in Business Award for entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership and business acumen, and was awarded the Pearcey Foundation Tech Entrepreneur of the Year Award for NSW in 2016. She has served on the CSIRO AcceleratiON Selection Panel, and won the ACS CXO Disruptor of the Year Award 2018. 

She holds her MBA from the AGSM and has completed further education in Leadership and Negotiation with Harvard University.