Yesterday's World IP Day celebrated the women who power change in innovation and creativity. All this week we've been posting blogs around that theme, in particular focusing on women in the IP professions, who help to turn innovation and creativity into commercial success.
Our article by Dr Hayleigh Bosher yesterday was a call to arms, reminding us how important it is to nurture, support and above all empower women in IP. World IP Day may have come and gone for another year, but that message should stay with us. IP Inclusive will continue to work towards better gender diversity and a more inclusive working environment for everyone in IP, regardless of their gender.
Another group working hard to empower women in this field is the ChIPs (“Chiefs in Intellectual Property”) network. Today Sam Funnell, Co-Chair of the recently established London chapter of ChIPs, tells us more about the work they're doing and how it can help the female IP professionals of the future.
Sam writes: "Over 10 years ago, ChIPs (“Chiefs in Intellectual Property”) was originally founded as an informal dinner group by seven heads of IP, who all happened to be women, from major technology companies in the Silicon Valley. I heard about the ChIPsters when I was the only in-house patent counsel at ARM, in Cambridge.
The conversations which World IP Day has inspired this year are not just for one week or even one month. They should stay with us well into the future, as we work together to ensure that women can continue to power change in the IP world and beyond.
Dr Hayleigh Bosher, founder of World IP Women and a senior lecturer in intellectual property law, invites us to consider how best to empower the women who work in innovation, creativity and IP, and how we will know when we've succeeded. We think it's an inspiring way to end World IP Day, looking to a future full of powerful IP women.
But our blog posts will continue... because World IP Day this year is only the start of a hugely important conversation.
Hayleigh writes: "Happy World Intellectual Property Day! As you are no doubt aware, this year’s WIPO theme for World IP Day is “powering change: women in innovation and creativity.” So far, we have heard some wonderful stories celebrating women in innovation, creativity and IP. For example, Kathryn Pickard looked at the role of women at the IP bar, Lee Davis explored the important role of women in the patent profession, and Eleanor Wade told us about women as inventors and patent applicants and their vital contribution to the STEM industries.
Recently, when discussing the theme, I have found myself repeatedly saying, what I strongly believe to be true: that in order to progress such ‘change’ we must empower the women who already work in innovation, creativity and IP.
But what does it actually mean to empower women? Are there palpable steps we can take to visibly see women empowered, and what would it look like if women in IP were empowered? So, let’s gather some thoughts on these points.
What does it mean to empower women in IP?
Firstly, it’s important to understand that empowerment is recognising that we are not trying to provide women with something that they do not already have. Instead, it means helping women to realise their worth, and recognise their abilities and potential. It also signifies encouraging women to claim their rights, where they have previously been repressed.
Today it's World IP Day, and who better to turn to for comment than our own Intellectual Property Office, which does so much to promote intellectual property and the UK's IP professionals?
The theme for World IP Day this year is "Powering change: Women in innovation and creativity". Armed with IPO research on female inventorship, patent examiner and Prospect trade union rep Eleanor Wade investigates how well women are represented in the STEM industries. She discusses how to increase that representation and ensure that women who take up STEM careers can achieve their full potential.
Eleanor writes: "Research from the IPO shows that women inventors in science, technology, engineering and mathematics industries are still massively under-represented in the workforce. I am a woman in STEM and a trade union rep with Prospect, which represents workers in many STEM employers. For me, this study demonstrates that while much has been achieved in reaching gender equality in STEM industries, there is still much to do.
Analysis of the classifications applied to each patent application also shows that the highest proportion of female inventors are in stereotypical areas such as brassieres, corsets and other clothing, cosmetics, furniture and food. The lowest proportion are in areas such as weapons, engines and tools.
The report is especially interesting because much of the statistical research looking at Women in STEM has relied on ‘inputs’, such as the number of women employed in any industry. The IPO report is one of few to provide data on the ‘outputs’ or work undertaken by those women. The study shows that the world of patenting remains male-dominated, with 88% of all GB patent applications coming from teams of all-male inventors.
Earlier this week, in our series of posts to mark World IP Day 2018 (#WorldIPDay), we looked at women's increasingly significant contributions to the UK patent profession. But when good ideas end up in court, there also need to be barristers with the expertise to defend or enforce the associated IP rights. And at the IP bar, as in the patent profession, there are still too few women.
IP barrister Kathryn Pickard, of 11 South Square (one of our Charter signatories), has taken a look at the role of women at the IP bar during the 99 years since women were first able to join the legal profession. She celebrates the achievements of female barristers both past and present, and the progress that has been made towards bringing more women into this fascinating and rewarding career. As in any area of IP law, of course, we must continue to build on that progress to ensure that creative, innovative and inspiring women can continue to power change through the IP system.
Kathryn writes: "This year’s theme for World IP Day is timely. 2018 has been lauded as the year of the woman. In the UK, it marks 100 years since women were given the vote and 99 years since women were first able to join the legal profession. It is an appropriate time to reflect on the role of women at the intellectual property or “IP” bar.
What is the IP Bar and what do its members do?
For those unfamiliar with IP or the UK legal system, members of the IP Bar are barristers who specialise in intellectual property law. They give advice to clients when questions of the validity or infringement of intellectual property arise and argue their clients’ cases in court.
Intellectual property rights underpin the scientific, technological and creative industries and come in a variety of different forms: from patents for inventions to copyright for literary, music and artistic works; from design rights for innovative industrial designs to trade marks for global brands; from performance rights for musicians to trade secrets for businesses and privacy rights for individuals.
The work of an IP barrister is fascinating. Not only is the law relating to intellectual property constantly evolving, but the subject matter of cases is infinitely varied. A career at the IP bar is challenging, interesting and rewarding.
Part of the battle to attract and retain more women in IP, and to ensure that they flourish there, is supporting and developing them as professionals. This is particularly important in the patent profession, where a STEM background is a prerequisite and women are currently in the minority.
One way to support these women is through groups like IP Inclusive's Women in IP network - which, incidentally, is open to people of all genders so long as they are interested in and sympathetic to so-called "women's issues". Another is through more focused "Lean In" circles, usually in individual organisations. These are small groups which meet regularly to learn and grow together, helping women to be more assertive and ambitious and to make the most of their careers.
For the next in our series of blogs to mark World IP Day on 26th April 2018, Victoria Barker from Kilburn & Strode (who are also one of our Charter signatories) tells us about the Lean In Circle which she and her colleagues have established. We hope that her experiences will inspire women throughout the IP professions to do something similar where they work.
Victoria writes: "In April 2017, we set up a Lean In Circle at Kilburn and Strode. A Lean In Circle is simply a group of like-minded people coming together to discuss issues that affect (primarily) women in the workplace. The Kilburn & Strode Circle is one of over 36,000 Lean In Circles worldwide, all inspired by the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.
The first meeting of the Lean In Circle looked at the sorts of issues women might face in the workplace, and asked colleagues to suggest topics for future meetings. The top three topics were, perhaps unsurprisingly, a lack of confidence, fear of failure, and how to say “no”. In response, the Lean In Circle has hosted learning sessions on “communicating with confidence” – looking at both what is said and how that message is communicated. One interesting point we discussed related to the use of “filler words” – not only “errms” and “uuumms”, but other, perhaps less noticeable things such as the use of the word “just”. For example, I know I’m guilty of saying “Can I just ask a question…?”, but what does “just” add? Is it needed? Am I, in fact, simply implying that my question isn’t important?"
On Thursday 26th April it's World IP Day. This year's theme is "Powering change: Women in innovation and creativity". At IP Inclusive, we want to celebrate women throughout the IP sector: the inventors and creators, the IP owners and users, and the many talented professionals who advise and support them, helping them to make the most of their IP rights on the wider stage.
Today's article is from the Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, Lee Davies, who explores the increasingly important role that women play in the development of the patent profession.
Lee writes: "Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) has never been more prominent on CIPA’s radar. As a founder member of IP Inclusive, it is absolutely right that CIPA continues to fly the flag for EDI, not just in terms of the diversity of the patent attorney profession but right across the landscape of intellectual property. No single aspect of diversity takes prominence, but there are times when the attention falls on a particular group of people. For World IP Day 2018, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has alighted on the theme of ‘Powering Change: Women in Innovation and Creativity’ and here, I reflect on the role and achievements of women in CIPA.
Set the task of identifying the first female Fellow of CIPA, we dived into the Institute’s archives and came across this entrance in the Transactions for 12 February, 1936.
The President said that the Institute that day was making history because, for the first time, its President had the pleasure of welcoming a lady Fellow, Mrs. Alderton, whose father, Mr. Andrews, was a well-known colleague. Medicine and law already had lady practitioners but, for some reason, the Institute had, until the present year, been entirely masculine. He had much pleasure in introducing Mrs. Alderton to the meeting. (Applause.)
This does not, of course, make Margaret Joyce Alderton the first female patent agent. Indeed, two women qualified as patent agents at around the same time, the other being Margaret Gulland Dixon, the daughter of George Ellis (Mewburn Ellis). On googling ‘first female patent agent UK’, it is Margaret Dixon whose name comes up, with the Mewburn Ellis website stating that she entered the profession in 1929 and qualified in 1936, making her ‘the first woman to take up patent agency as a full-time career’.
We do know that Margaret Alderton qualified in May 1935, making her the first qualified female patent agent in the UK, and that she became a Fellow of CIPA in February 1936. Margaret Dixon qualified in February 1936 and was admitted as a Fellow of CIPA in November of that year. I would rather not dwell on which of these two remarkable women was the first female patent agent in the UK. Together, the two Margarets took on the established all-male profession and carved their names in history.
The flood gates, however, did not open. It would be twenty years before the admission of another female Fellow, Mrs Nancy Rowena Margaret Russell, in 1959. Before a host of eagle-eyed patent attorneys observe that this is a gap of twenty-three years, there were no Fellows admitted in the mid-war years 1942 to 1944. From this point onwards, we find female Fellows being admitted to CIPA at the rate of one every two or three years, with thirty to forty male counterparts, through until the early seventies, when things start to pick up.
Join us at AIPLA's Global Networking Event!
On Thursday 19th April 2018, the Women in IP network of IP Inclusive will be participating in the AIPLA Women In IP Law Committee’s Global Networking Event in Cambridge, Manchester, London, Bristol and Glasgow. 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 19th April. Please register early as places are limited. This page will be updated with the details of each event as we receive them.
As always, all types of IP professionals are welcome to attend the event, including paralegals, patent and trade mark administrators, patent searchers, IPO Examiners, trainees, patent attorneys, trade mark attorneys, IP solicitors and barristers.
Cambridge: AstraZeneca is delighted to be hosting the Cambridge edition of the AIPLA Women In Intellectual Property Law Global Networking Event, in conjunction with IP Inclusive. The event will begin at 17:00, and will be an excellent opportunity to catch up with fellow intellectual property professionals and hear from two fascinating speakers, Rebekah Martin, Deputy General Counsel at AstraZeneca, and Christine Martin, Investment Manager at Cambridge Enterprise. There will be a chance to network over drinks and canapés. For further details or to book a (free) place at the event, please visit the registration page. Please note, this event is open to women and men.
Manchester: Once again, Mewburn Ellis LLP’s office are hosting the event, which will feature gin sampling (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and a celebration of the conributions of women in IP and innovation in North West England. To register, or for more information, please email Sarah Brearley. Please note, this event is open to women and men.
London: Finnegan is proud to host the AIPLA Women in IP Global Networking Event and invites you to join them for cocktails and canapés, and get inspired by their guests speakers, including Mandy Haberman, a British inventor and entrepreneur. For further details or to book a (free) place at the event, please visit the registration page. Please note, this event is open to women and men.
Glasgow: Murgitroyd is hosting the event, which will feature a gin tasting and a special guest speaker Cheryl Tubach, Chief IP Counsel at J. M. Huber Corporation. The event will be taking place between 17:00 and 19:00 at Murgitroyd's office in Glasgow. To book a (free) place at the event, please visit the registration page.
Bristol: Haseltine Lake is delighted to be hosting an informal networking event for the IP community celebrating the role of women in innovation in the South West. The event will be held at Haseltine Lake’s Bristol office, from 16:30 - 19:00 and is open to everyone of every gender working within the IP Community in the South West Region. To book a (free) place at the event, please email Haseltine Lake.
We look forward to seeing you at one of our events!
The Women In IP Committee
Earlier this year, we posted an article about Kilburn & Strode's efforts to improve diversity, and in paticular, gender equality, in the workplace. Specifically, Kilburn & Strode joined the Lean In community in April 2017. Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Victoria Coleman, Technical Assistant at Kilburn & Strode LLP, and is an update on the Lean In activities that have been taking place at her firm. Kilburn & Strode are one of our Charter signatories.
Victoria writes:"At our firm, we are committed to progressing diversity initiatives. Why? Because we want to encourage innovation through diversity of ideas – and to create productive and varied teams of people working together for common cause. One way we can all get involved in our diversity initiatives is our Lean In Circle and we have been very busy over the past few months. Here is an update of what we have been up to.
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.
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.