This morning, many IP professionals attended the Diversity in IP breakfast in London, which was organised by AIPLA, CITMA, CIPA and FICPI-UK. At the event, there was much talk about the reasons why IP organisations should think seriously about diversity and inclusion - staff happiness, employee retention, job satisfaction, client wins and client retention were just of the motives mentioned by the speakers. (See our Twitter feed for more of the points made during the event).
Once you are convinced that equality, diversity and inclusion are important, you may wonder what you and your firm needs to do next. Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Victoria Barker, Associate at Kilburn & Strode LLP, and is about her and her firm's efforts to improve diversity, and in particular, gender equality, in the workplace. Kilburn & Strode are one of our Charter signatories.
Victoria writes: "The 2013 book by Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In, has undoubtedly been controversial. In the book Sheryl explores factors that may hold some women back in the workplace, mostly by looking at her own experiences. For example, she mentions creating special parking spaces for pregnant women near the front door to her employer’s building when she was faced with a long walk across the car park during her own pregnancy. The book aims to inspire women to take a more active role in developing their career, and encourages men to provide support for women so they can do this. Not all of Sheryl’s comments have been well received, with some critics calling the book little more than a manifesto for privileged white women. Nevertheless, by starting a conversation on gender issues in the workplace, the book has led to the formation of more than 32,000 “Lean In Circles” in 151 countries worldwide.
"Lean In Circles" are groups of like-minded people of both sexes coming together to discuss issues that affect (primarily) women in the workplace. Circles can be big or small, open to new members or closed, physical groups or online-only - whatever suits the members best. Some of the Circles are affiliated with an employer, others with a geographical location, and still others with a specific career path or job title.
In April, Kilburn & Strode joined the Lean In community and held our first Circle meeting.
Join us at AIPLA's Global Networking Event!
On Thursday 4th May 2017, the Women in IP network of IP Inclusive will be participating in the AIPLA Women In IP Law Committee’s Global Networking Event in Glasgow, Manchester and London. Join us, along with other cities across Europe, to catch-up with fellow IP professionals and to hear from speakers on fascinating topics around women in innovation.
The events will be held in the late afternoon and evening on Thursday 4th May, and are kindly being hosted by some of the IP Inclusive Charter signatories. Please register early as places are limited.
Glasgow: Join us for wine, nibbles and networking as we discuss plans for and progress towards the Unified Patents Court (UPC). This event is being hosted by Murgitroyd. To register, or for more information, please email Lauris Kemp. Please note, this event is for women only.
Manchester: Gather in Manchester, birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and now GrapheneCity, at Mewburn Ellis LLP’s office to celebrate innovation and inclusion. Over cheeses, wine and mocktails we’ll discuss the role women play in innovation, both by celebrating notable figures from our history and by looking to the future and our role in it. To register, or for more information, please email Sarah Brearley. Please note, this event is for women only.
London: Gill Jennings & Every LLP invite you to meet at the Urban Innovation Centre, Clerkenwell for cocktails and canapés and to hear from speakers who work to encourage young women into the scientific professions and to support investment in innovative start-ups with a diverse leadership. If you would like more information, or would like to know how to register, please email Lucy Samuels. Please note, this event is open to women and men.
We look forward to seeing you there,
The Women In IP Committee
We have another #SecretDiary excerpt!
In this post, CIPA's Immediate Past President, Andrea Brewster, writes about the recent CIPA and AIPLA Diversity in IP breakfast meeting:
13 June 2016
One of the ways IP Inclusive aims to make the IP sector in the UK more diverse and inclusive is by creating support groups for 'minority' groups working in IP. So far, IP Inclusive has set-up IP Out, a networking group for LGBT people and “straight allies” working in the IP profession. The IP Inclusive Women in IP group is also in the making and should hold its first event later in the year. Some of the Women in IP events will be open to women and to men who want to help the profession become more welcoming and supportive of women. IP Inclusive decided to create these groups in response to feedback from people within the IP sector who felt that such groups would provide them a 'safe' network in which they could share advice and support. Having these networks and connections can help some people feel more included and less isolated in the profession or workplace.
However, some people may question how such support groups help to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce, as the groups may appear to be exclusive rather than inclusive. Some view support groups as indicative of an underlying bias towards those in the support group. The riposte is simple: (1) if the support groups interest you, you are most welcome to ask to join the group and its events; and (2) if hiring and promotion decisions are truly merit-based, underlying biases towards any characteristic should not affect these decisions.
We hope to announce the details of IP Inclusive's first Women in IP event soon. In the meantime, here is the second of two articles about the recent AIPLA Women in IP event.
Susan Kirsch (Partner) and Jennie Cox (Senior Associate) of Carpmaels & Ransford write: "As part of the AIPLA Annual Women in IP event, Carpmaels & Ransford LLP held a drinks reception with canapes and music in London on 21st April".
Last week, the ninth AIPLA Women in IP Global Networking Event was held in multiple locations around the world. IP Inclusive Charter signatory Carpmaels & Ransford hosted a reception in London as part of the global event. In the first of two articles about the event, Katherine Ellis, a UK and European Patent Attorney, writes about the event and some of the discussions she had with other women in IP.
Katherine writes: "As part of AIPLA’s ninth global Women in IP Networking Event, around 50 “women in IP” attended a reception at Carpmaels & Ransford’s office in London. To appropriately set the scene we were greeted on arrival with a prosecco or alcohol-free mojito while we got the chance to mingle.
To launch the evening, we watched an AIPLA video introducing these global networking events, which are held concurrently in various geographical locations throughout the world for women involved in professions who practice IP law and/or who regularly face IP issues. Jennie Cox of Carpmaels then gave us a short talk on the support given by Carpmaels to the local community in Holborn including “Holborn Community Cooks!” (more on that below).
The AIPLA Women in IP Global Networking Event is being held for the ninth year on Thursday 21st April 2016 in multiple locations around the world. The event is a meeting of women located around the globe who practice IP law, and/or who regularly face IP issues in the ordinary course of business.
Events are, so far, confirmed to take place in 55 locations in 21 countries on 21st April! The list of all the cities and hosts, including their contact information, can been found here. A number of events are taking place in the UK, organised by signatories of the IP Inclusive Charter for Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity.