On 12th January, Darren Smyth from our IP Out Committee will be addressing an LGBTSTEMinar in York.
In a recent tweet, Darren reminded us that "When I was a chemistry student at Oxford University 1988-1996 in my entire time I was only aware of two other out LGBT chemists". He said he is "thrilled and delighted", not only to be attending #LGBTSTEMinar for the second time, but also to be presenting there on the pregabalin litigation.
For the last LGBTSTEMinar, Darren created and displayed a poster about the work of IP Out, and we're fantastically pleased that he'll be doing the same this time. Here's a sneak preview:
The LGBT STEMinar is a one-day research meeting for people who work or study in STEM subjects and identify as LGBT+. Straight allies are also welcome. The event is free and you can find out more here.
Good luck Darren - we'll be thinking of you!
IP Inclusive Leader
Today's blog article has been provided by three senior trainees at Wynne-Jones IP: Matthew Veale, Grace Mason-Jarrett, and Piotr Mach. Wynne-Jones are one of our Charter signatories.
Matthew, Grace and Piotr write: "There are many misconceptions that surround the intellectual property profession.
Needing a first in your degree, that you must have attended an elite university, such as Cambridge, or that it is simply a boring ‘desk job’, are just some of false beliefs many hold.
Here at Wynne-Jones IP we are challenging these common misconceptions and supporting greater diversity, equality, and inclusivity across our profession.
In this article, we reveal what we falsely believed before entering the profession and what IP inclusivity means to us.
What did you falsely believe before applying to a role within the IP profession?
Matthew: I believed that IP was not sustainably different around the world.
Piotr: I thought it was a boring job dealing with the papers/documents only.
Grace: I didn’t know a great deal about it so hadn’t formed any opinions.
Does the role provide you with more variety than you expected?
Matthew: Yes we cover anything and everything.
Grace: Absolutely, I think when (non-attorney) people think of patents they think of Big Pharma companies but in our practice that’s not the case at all.
Piotr: Yes, it means exposure to a variety of work across different technical fields- which is great!
What common misconceptions do people have with the IP profession?
Matthew: That you need a law degree, you cover all areas of commercial/cooperate law, and generally what IP is?
Grace: From careers fairs it seems a lot of people worry that they have no experience of the profession or understanding of the Law prior to starting, but that’s really not required.
Piotr: People think you need to attend a top university, get a first, and that Brexit will have a big impact on the profession.
Is there a lack of understanding about the IP profession at university/college/school?
Matthew: Yes, there should be a module at least related to IP law in every degree, there should be some exposure to IP in the school curriculum
Grace: I rarely (if ever?) discussed it at university/college/school. It wasn’t something I came across, I think there is a lack of understanding in that it’s not widely known about particularly outside of the engineering degrees. At Southampton University the electrical Engineers had a talk from an Attorney about becoming a patent attorney, but us physics students didn’t get that.
Piotr: Yes – “are we lawyers?” is a question I get asked quite a lot!
And finally, what does being IP inclusive mean to you?
Matthew: For me, it’s thinking independently together
Grace: To me being IP inclusive means listening to everyone‘s perspective in order to obtain the best solution (for the client or for the firm)
Piotr: It definitely means working towards a more accessible and supportive IP profession regardless of background. In particular, knowing that this initiative exists not only helps me to be myself and feel respected, but also raises my openness to others."
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.
Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Chris Burnett, an Associate Patent Attorney at A. A. Thornton and is about the talk he recently gave to sixth formers at the Hylands School in Chelmsford, Essex about the careers available in IP. Chris is on the IP Inclusive taskforce and is working on the project to raise awareness of the IP professions among schools, universities and careers advisors. A. A. Thornton are one of our Charter signatories.
Chris writes: "The last time I stepped into a secondary school was when I was a pupil nearly 20 years ago. I instantly stepped back in time walking through the main door, and familiar sights and sounds came flooding back. Some things had of course changed - people were now holding the door open for me and calling me “sir”, blackboards were now projector screens and the computers weren’t BBC Micros… but you get the general idea.
I have been involved with IP Inclusive for a while now, and I am part of the Careers In Ideas team, who are trying to increase diversity by spreading the word about IP-based careers to those who have never heard of them. Like many others in the various IP professions I only found out about my present job through a family member who happened to know one. Clearly, in terms of increasing diversity this is no way to continue. In one strand of my work for IP Inclusive we are encouraging people to visit schools, universities and careers fairs to talk about what they do. This was me practicing what I preached.
The Careers In Ideas initiative is about inspiring people to take up a career in IP, and since many of these careers require a STEM degree, what better place to start than sixth formers taking science A-levels who are looking to apply to university?
I was invited to talk at Hylands School by my next-door neighbour, who is a science teacher there. Hylands is a medium-sized secondary comprehensive academy in Chelmsford with just over 700 pupils and several farm animals. Many of the students I spoke to had already decided to go to university to study science degrees, so I merely had to inspire them with tales of my daily grind.
Today's blog article has kindly been provided by IP Inclusive Charter signatory Beck Greener and is about their project to encourage young people to consider a career in the STEM sectors. Beck Greener have been shortlisted for an award for this project.
James Stones and Catherine Jewell of Beck Greener write: "Here at Beck Greener, we are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted for the Heart of the City Award in this year’s Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards, for our "STEM: Branching Out" project.
The aims of the project are very much in line with the good work that CIPA and IP Inclusive are doing to raise awareness of the profession among young people, and include inspiring and encouraging young people to consider a career in the STEM sectors, including the patent profession. We hope in particular to reach students from sections of the community that are currently under-represented in STEM careers generally, and the IP profession in particular, thereby improving diversity and social mobility in these sectors.
Organised by the City of London, the Lord Mayor's Dragon Awards recognise excellence in companies' Corporate Community Involvement that benefits Greater London. The Heart of the City Award in particular recognises businesses that have set up a strategic approach to community engagement for the first time in the last three years.
Launched in June last year, the Beck Greener "STEM: Branching Out" project is a new initiative within the Community aspect of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Programme. The project involves a variety of activities aimed at promoting careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and raising the profile of the IP profession, while also providing our staff with opportunities to develop their skills in areas such as communication, leadership, presentation, and project-management.
The IP Inclusive taskforce held its third annual round-table meeting on 7th February. Following updates from the four working groups on their 2016 achievements, we set our objectives for 2017.
Our key theme for this year will be the business case for diversity and inclusion. We will build this into our training events and outreach activities, so as to raise awareness, spark discussion and improve buy-in from decision makers in the IP professions. If you have any stories or thoughts to share on this, we’d love to hear from you: see for example our recent blog post on the topic.
During 2017 we hope to:
2016 has been an eventful year, and not always in a good way. But as it draws to a close, I find myself with only positive memories of what IP Inclusive has achieved. And it’s time to say my thank yous. Because whilst I may have been the one standing at the helm, it’s been the many other committed supporters who’ve driven the ship forward, who’ve kept a look-out for threats and opportunities, and who’ve provided the vision and the passion to keep projects on track.
And these are unpaid volunteers, note: busy professionals all. IP Inclusive is powered solely by donations – of time, expertise, hospitality and finance – from the generous individuals and organisations that support us.
So, I would like to say a massive pre-Christmas “thank you”:
[Click the "Read More" button to see the rest of this post]
At last week's IP Inclusive party to mark a year of the Charter for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, many of the participants and audience members noted that one way to improve diversity within the IP professions is by raising awareness of the professions among the public.
Under a separate banner, Careers in Ideas, we are creating resources to raise awareness of IP-related careers and encourage recruits from a greater range of backgrounds. The resources will be targeted at school, college and university students, as well as their teachers and careers advisers. The resources we've created so far include a poster and a booklet on IP-related careers, which you can download for free below. If you are attending a careers fair, or if you plan to do some outreach into schools, universities, clubs, etc. please print copies of our poster and booklet and take them with you to hand out.
We have also prepared a presentation for teachers to incorporate into their lessons in order to introduce their pupils to the careers in ideas. We are in the process of building a dedicated website through which potential recruits and their advisers can access information and support. For example, we plan on providing helpful tips on when and how to apply for jobs within IP, how to prepare for interviews, and how to write a good cover letter and CV. Through the new website, we may be able to connect potential applicants with people within the profession who can answer specific questions about careers, interviews, training, day-to-day work, the support networks within the professions, etc.
At the moment, we need your help to help us raise awareness of the IP professions by distributing our resources to the public (e.g. to schools, universities, libraries, careers services, etc.). If you are interested in helping us, please email Chris Burnett who is coordinating the distribution task and let him know:
We look forward to hearing from you!
If you have any questions about the resources themselves or the forthcoming website, please email Parminder Lally, who is leading the "raising awareness" group within IP Inclusive.
As previously mentioned here, the IP Inclusive reception is taking place in a few weeks. Please join us to celebrate the first successful year of the IP Inclusive Charter which currently has over 80 signatories!
The event takes place on Thursday 24 November 2016, 16:00 to 17:45, at Carpmaels & Ransford's London office (One Southampton Row, London, WC1B 5HA).
This is a chance to bring together our Charter signatories, along with anyone else from the IP professions who has an interest in our work. It will include:
Find out what we’ve been up to over the last year and how you can join in the fun, helping to make a massive difference to the profession you’re in.
Anyone who works in IP, or with IP professionals, is welcome. The event is free, but numbers are limited so please book your place early by emailing us your name and organisation.
We look forward to seeing you there!