Today's blog article has been provided by Emma Longland, Senior Patent Attorney at HGF Limited. HGF Limited is one of our Charter signatories.
Emma writes: "On 21st November the Women in IP network, which is a support group of the IP Inclusive initiative, held their second annual panel discussion. The event was also a celebration of one year since the launch of the Women in IP network.
The subject of this year’s panel discussion was “Climbing up the Career Ladder”, and it was graciously hosted by CMS in their shiny new building on Cannon Street. The speakers on the panel had a range of experiences from which to approach the discussion, with Catriona Hammer, IP Consultant, acting as chair and joined by three Partners (Sarah Wright of CMS, Matthew Critten of Abel and Imray, and Julia Gwilt of Appleyard Lees), one IP General Counsel (Karen Cochran of Shell), and one IP Specialist Recruiter (Pete Fellows of Fellows and Associates).
Over 200 people applied to attend the event, and the high attendance reflected this by way of a largely female audience with a scattering of men.
Today's blog article has been provided by May Worvill, Graduate Resourcing Manager at Bristows LLP. Bristows LLP is one of our Charter signatories.
May writes: "At Bristows, we believe inclusion initiatives should, by definition, encompass everyone who works at the firm rather than just target groups with specific protected characteristics. This attitude has pervaded the firm’s discussions on the implementation of a new agile working policy and has had a profound impact for me personally.
I’m the Graduate Resourcing Manager at the firm, but I’m also a military wife and in November last year I found out that my husband was being posted to Germany for two years from the start of 2017. I made the decision to move with him and thought that this would mean resigning from my role at Bristows; not something I was keen to do. With regret, I approached my manager (the Head of HR) and also the partner I report in to, to let them know my situation. I openly asked if there was any way that I could continue working at the firm, fully expecting a response of “we’re sorry, but no”. But, this is not what I heard back from either of them. Instead to my delight, “Well why can’t you just work remotely?” was the response.
Today's blog article has been provided by Tobias Hawksley Beesley, an associate at Bird & Bird LLP. Bird & Bird LLP is one of our Charter signatories, and Tobias is a committee member for our IP Out support group.
Tobias writes: "It goes without saying that everyone thinks about having children at some point in their lives – whether its thinking about if you want to have them in the first place, how you go about it, who to have children with, or if you want to go it alone. Although these questions are no different for people in the LGBT+ community, once you decide you'd like to become a parent at some point in your life, one question stands out in particular (for obvious reasons!)… 'how?'.
Should it be via adoption or surrogacy? Who will be the biological mother/father in a same-sex couple? Do you need an egg or sperm donor? Do you need a clinic? Do you look at options in the UK or abroad? How much will it all cost? How long will it take? What are the legal implications? Who is going to help you on the journey? How do you get the process started?
Indeed, it all seems a bit daunting, emotionally and legally complex. Although there are no official statistics on the number of British people that have had children via surrogacy (partly due to the ad hoc nature of many informal arrangements), in respect of adoption, reports state that 10% in the UK in 2016 were by same sex couples. What is known however is that record numbers of people in the UK are turning to alternative family building options. Surrogacy, in particular, is becoming an increasingly viable option for people in the LGBT+ community, despite the law surrounding it in the UK being dubbed by many as outdated, confusing and overly complex.
On Thursday 9th November 2017, IP Out are hosting an event entitled 'The Family Way': Helen Prosser from Brilliant Beginnings and Jade Quirke from NGALaw – experts in family and fertility law – will be talking about options available to LGBT+ people for having children. Whether you are considering this path yourself or simply want to ensure that you are able to support colleagues and contacts who might go through this process in the future, please do come along to learn something new, catch up with friends, and to meet the ever expanding IP Out network.
This will be followed, as always, by drinks and networking. Reserve your place here."
There are quite a few IP Inclusive events taking place in November:
Wednesday 8th November - unconscious bias workshop/seminar in London. For more details, see this blog post.
Thursday 9th November - an IP Out seminar in London on the options available to LGBT+ people for having children. For more details, see the IP Out page here.
Tuesday 21st November - a Women in IP seminar in London on climbing the career ladder. For more details, see the Women in IP page here.
Wednesday 29th November - workshop/seminar on the business case for diversity and inclusivity in London. The event will be hosted by Gowling WLG at 4 More London Riverside, London SE1 2AU.
This event is aimed at anyone involved in recruitment or HR, or with influence over their organisations’ EDI policies. It will include workshop-style discussions to assemble a compelling case for diversity and inclusivity, that you can take back to your own organisation to persuade colleagues on board.
Under discussion will be the impact of diversity on an organisation's internal efficiency; its talent recruitment and retention; its relationships with clients and other external stakeholders; its risk and compliance management; and its overall financial performance.
To book onto the event, see here.
Tuesday 5th December - joint CIPA, CITMA and IP Inclusive lunchtime webinar on mental health featuring Elizabeth Rimmer, the Chief Executive of LawCare. Elizabeth will talk about why mental health matters in the IP community and highlight aspects of the culture and practices of the legal professions that can compromise mental wellbeing. LawCare's support is available to all CIPA and CITMA members, and this webinar will explain the charity's role in promoting and supporting good mental health. It will also introduce some simple steps that we can all take to protect ourselves and our colleagues from mental health problems, in particular those arising from workplace stress.
This webinar is intended for all IP professionals, and may be particularly useful for new starters to the profession and for those involved in management roles.
To book, please visit the CIPA website.
Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Lucie Jones, an executive paralegal at EIP. EIP is one of our Charter signatories.
Lucie writes: "I remember watching a video on social media: “If men breastfed”. This advert for a breast pump company depicts what the workplace would be like if breastfeeding was the realm of men. I giggled seeing male stereotypes associated with expressing breast milk: men gathering in a lactation lounge that looks like a pub/casino, competing to express the most breastmilk, the gadget geeks boasting their high tech breast pumps, the fitness freak using the expressing time for a work out. I became seriously envious when I saw the breast shields being cleaned by the barman and lactation cookies and lactation steaks being on offer… and beer! And here I was, alone in my small meeting room, with my low tech pump, trying to express enough for my son’s next day feeds.. and not having had a drop of alcohol for months! How I wished I could be drinking a (virgin) mojito while my breast pump massages my neck and shoulders at the same time as expressing my milk… Still I was incredibly grateful to have this private space accommodated for me and for being allowed the time to express for as long as I wanted without any questions asked.
The majority of women decide to stop breastfeeding before they go back to work. After all in the UK we are granted a one year maternity leave and if one third of the mothers are still breastfeeding at 6 months, only 0.5% do so at 12 months. However some women decide to keep breastfeeding for all sorts of reasons. In my case, my son had been born extremely premature and even though he was almost one year old when I went back to work, he would have been only 8 months old had he been born full term. He had chronic lung disease that made him more susceptible to chest infections and as we were in the middle of winter I wanted him to have the immunity my breastmilk could give him. It would have been very difficult for me to go back to work hadn’t I been given the possibility to express in the office. At first it was to make sure he had enough breastmilk for his feeds while I was at work and for this I was pumping three times a day. Then, as he got stronger and healthier, it was for my body to adjust to not breastfeeding/expressing for a long period of time and I could reduce the expressing sessions progressively.
There are less dramatic reasons to want to keep breastfeeding a child. Many mothers have to, or choose to, shorten their maternity leave and go back to work when their baby is still heavily reliant on breastmilk, or their infant is allergic to formula/cow’s milk, or some just want to follow the World Health Organisation recommendation to breastfeed for up to 2 years and beyond... Whatever their reason is, it is important that they are given the possibility to do so.
IP Inclusive are running a seminar/workshop on unconscious bias on Wednesday 8th November, between 16:00 and 17:30. Mathys & Squire, one of our Charter signatories, are kindly hosting this for us at their offices in The Shard. The aim is to create a toolkit of practical measures for raising awareness of, and mitigating, the impact of inappropriate biases and assumptions. The seminar will be followed by networking and drinks.
This is a free interactive seminar exploring the effects of unconscious bias in the IP professions and ways to address it. You will learn what unconscious bias is; when and why it occurs; how it impacts on both organisations and the individuals within them; and how to take action against it.
Aimed at anyone involved in recruitment or HR, or with influence over their organisations’ equality, diversity and inclusion policies, the event will include workshop-style discussions to create a “toolkit” of practical measures that you can take back to your own organisation to raise awareness of unconscious bias and overcome its detrimental effects.
Places are limited so please book as soon as possible if you'd like to join us. To register, please visit the registration website here.
Today's blog article has been provided by Tim Gooder, an employment lawyer from Gordons LLP, who has recently provided some discrimination awareness training to one of our Charter signatories.
Tim writes: "I have discussed discrimination law with a selection of IP professionals up and down the land and one issue was raised on a few occasions – international clients.
Of course, UK employers are under a duty to ensure fairness in the workplace and prevent discrimination. This task is then made arguably more complicated for employers with international clients for whom different cultural norms and practices may apply, from countries with less stringent laws to prevent discrimination than our own.
This blog article will consider the legal position where clients seek to impose restrictions on employers in terms of which of its employees should or should not undertake work on their behalf.
By way of background, save for in certain prescribed circumstances, employers are prevented from either directly or indirectly discriminating against their employees and this is defined as follows:
So far, so straightforward.
However, the legal waters become murkier when an employer proposes to treat members of its staff less favourably at the behest of a (perhaps valuable) international client. In a situation where a client specifies that an individual or a group of employees with protected characteristics undertake or are prevented from undertaking a particular job, is the employer then liable? Can such prima facie discrimination ever be lawful?
Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Hannah Fish, head of Carpmaels & Ransford's marketing and business development team. Carpmaels & Ransford are one of our Charter signatories.
Hannah writes: "On 19th September, groups of IP professionals gathered at twelve locations around the country to hear about Imposter Syndrome and the practical steps which can be taken to tackle it.
Prior to the event, the term imposter syndrome, which was coined in 1978, was not one I’d heard. However, the symptoms are all too familiar; a feeling that I was going to be found out, a lack of confidence in my own convictions and an inability to articulate and contribute my ideas, to name just a few.
Many attendees at the London event I attended, admitted to feelings of fraud in one way or another. Some could pinpoint a particular moment in their career when this happened, others found that it was manifested as gnawing doubt. But in all cases, it was comforting to discover that however these feelings appear, they are not uncommon.
After introducing the topic, Jo Maughan who presented the session, facilitated a method of tackling self-doubt known as positive anchoring, and also provided some practical tips on what can be done to support those around us who might be experiencing the symptoms of imposter syndrome.
The session provided an opportunity to share experiences and thoughts that had not necessarily been voiced and aimed to offer reassurance and practical tips to counter the feelings of imposter syndrome.
For those who were unable to attend a copy of the slides and a recording of the webinar is available here".
Thank you Hannah for writing this article. For tips on how to deal with impostor syndrome, see Mark Richardson's write-up of the event here. (Mark is a Partner at Keltie LLP).
If you would like to write a blog article for IP Inclusive, on anything diversity related, please email Emily Teesdale of Abel & Imray. Guest bloggers are always very welcome!
The 2017 IPReg Business Plan includes a project to review CPD obligations for patent and trade mark attorneys, and to benchmark them against the CPD arrangements of other legal and non-legal providers. We understand this review is planned for the latter part of 2017.
IP Inclusive have recently provided IPReg with submissions for consideration in their review. The submissions are based on input from patent and trade mark attorneys, the organisations in which they work and the membership bodies to which they belong, and reflect the views of many registered attorneys on how the current regime may impact upon diversity and inclusivity.
A copy of our submissions can be viewed here:
IP Inclusive and CIPA are running a nationwide event on impostor syndrome on Tuesday 19th September 2017. The event is taking place at TWELVE venues across the UK! You can now book your place at one of the venues - links are provided below. Places are limited, so book asap.
As always, the event is open to everyone working in the IP or the IP-related professions (e.g. paralegals, legal secretaries, attorneys, technology transfer specialists, IPO staff, in-house IP teams, trainee lawyers, solicitors, barristers, technical translators, IP journalists, etc.). Please do share the event information with all of your colleagues.
Bath (hosted by EIP): https://tinyurl.com/yc896ba7
Birmingham (hosted by Gowling WLG):http://tinyurl.com/ycq67m6x *NEW*
Cambridge (hosted by Mills & Reeve): *FULLY BOOKED*
Cardiff (hosted by Abel & Imray): https://tinyurl.com/ychbyzlf
Glasgow (hosted by Burness Paull): https://tinyurl.com/y9fxutft *LAST FEW SPACES*
Leeds (hosted by Appleyard Lees IP LLP): *FULLY BOOKED*
London Bridge (hosted by Keltie LLP): https://tinyurl.com/y8ghzvcp
London Liverpool St (hosted by Gill Jennings & Every LLP): https://tinyurl.com/ybt4eb2o
Manchester (hosted by Mewburn Ellis LLP): https://tinyurl.com/y7qz445v
Nottingham (hosted by Potter Clarkson): https://tinyurl.com/yd6pelyf
Southampton (hosted by D Young & Co): https://tinyurl.com/yd5la536
York (hosted by BRANDED!): https://tinyurl.com/ybndpekl
We look forward to welcoming you at one of the venues on 19th September.
If you cannot make it to one of the above venues, you can also listen to the webinar remotely: http://tinyurl.com/y9gcv7x4