Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Caroline Day, Partner and Patent Attorney at Haseltine Lake LLP, which is one of our Charter signatories.
Caroline writes: "Folks, I wanted to pass on some good news, just in case you hadn’t heard: it’s officially OK to use ‘they’ in the singular!
In other words, it is no longer grammatically necessary to pointlessly gender a subject of a contract clause or legal fiction, such as the skilled person or the moron in a hurry. And by ‘no longer necessary’, I should of course say ‘once more unnecessary’, because from the 14th to the late 19th century, nothing could have made more sense - I mean, why force a gender onto something when you had no actual knowledge?
Then in 1890 it was decided that “words importing the masculine gender shall be deemed and taken to include females” in Acts of Parliament, officially anointing the idea that ‘he’ worked fine as a generic. It doesn’t though. When someone says ‘he’, we imagine a man.
IP Inclusive has been around for nearly four years, but we know we haven't yet reached everyone we'd like to. So let's explode some of the myths surrounding what the initiative does and who it's for...
On 6 September 2018 it was announced that Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell would be donating £2.3m from a major science prize she was awarded to a fund to help women, under-represented ethnic minority and refugee students to become physics researchers. She said she wanted to use her prize money to counter the "unconscious bias" that she believes is still a barrier to entry in physics research jobs.
It was a timely announcement. On the same day IP Inclusive broadcast a lunch-time webinar on “Unconscious bias and the IP professional”.
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD).
We are no strangers to stress in the IP professions, and doubtless to the mental health problems it can fuel. Rarely talked about, inadequately supported, problems such as anxiety and depression can easily lead to tragedy.
Today, then, we call on IP Inclusive supporters to help improve mental well-being in the IP professions, and - in the words of the WSPD organisers - to take a minute to reach out to someone and change the course of another person’s life.
Please read our blog below about the mental health survey we conducted with CIPA this spring. Our report includes practical recommendations for improving mental health in the workplace - for employers and their staff, and indeed for everyone in the IP professions.
You can also download our toolkit for tackling mental health in the workplace, from our resources page, and use it to spark discussion and change in your own organisation. And if you need more information on "mental health first aid", a valuable way of raising awareness and understanding, MHFA England is a good place to start.
Please do something to make a difference.
Monday 10 September 2018 is World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD). It's a time for all of us to reflect on the devastating loneliness, fear and misery that can lead someone to take their own life, and what we can do to help prevent it.
A good time, therefore, for us to publish the results of our Mental Health Awareness Week survey of the patent profession.