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...
Firstly: "IP Inclusive is mainly about women in IP". Not true. We're concerned with all aspects of diversity, including ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, age, disability and social mobility. We have support groups focused not just on women in IP, but also on the LGBT+ and BAME communities, and we would love to set up more in the future. All three groups are open to IP professionals regardless of gender, sexuality and ethnicity: in fact, they're happy to welcome "allies". Our blogs, tweets, events and resources cover a whole range of diversity-related issues, and of our 20 or more 2018 events, only two were specifically with the Women in IP group.
Secondly: "IP Inclusive is only for patent and trade mark attorneys". Again, not true. We're for anyone who works in or with IP. That's a really wide definition; it includes, for example, not just patent and trade mark attorneys but also IP solicitors and barristers; IP managers; searchers and information scientists; IP Office examiners; IP administrators and paralegals; IP secretaries; academics; journalists; specialist IP recruiters; and professionals who support IP practices and departments for example in HR or practice management roles. All of these are "IP professionals" in our book. We want to reach across the whole sector. We even like to hear from people who are interested in joining the IP professions.
Thirdly: "IP Inclusive is London-centric." Here we have to concede that a lot of our events have taken place in London so far. But we've also broadcast webinars - with the recordings available on our website afterwards - and we've organised events in Bath, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham and Southampton. Sadly, a couple of those events had to be cancelled due to lack of support - but we'll keep on trying. We're also hoping to establish regional "clusters" of our Charter signatories, to make it easier to provide events and support around the country: the Scottish cluster was set up just a few weeks ago and others will follow.
The thing is, with IP Inclusive, that it's powered entirely by volunteers. We can only do things that our supporters offer to help with, only put on events when companies offer to host them. So if there's something you'd like to get involved with, let us know and we'll do what we can to make it happen. Whatever your gender. Whatever your role in the IP sector. Wherever you're based, and in whatever size and type of organisation. We'd love to hear from you.
IP Inclusive is an umbrella under which everyone who wants to improve diversity and inclusion in the IP professions can work together in pursuit of a common goal. Our doors remain open to all.