A round-table meeting on Diversity in IP hosted by the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) led to the creation of a pan-professional diversity task force. This task force currently has nearly 40 members from organisations including CIPA, the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (ITMA), the IP Federation, the UK association of the International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys (FICPI-UK), the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) and Managing IP magazine [MIP isn't quite what this Kat would call an 'organisation'; it's a publication run by Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC, which in turn is 70% owned by the Daily Mail. Still, it's good to see the IP information sector represented -- it's proof that IP Inclusive doesn't mind being inclusive. Merpel adds, MIP also has a blog and a Twitter account, so the social media are included too]. The group has representation spanning patent and trade mark attorneys, IP solicitors and barristers, patent and trade mark administrators, information scientists, IP Office examiners and HR professionals from IP practices. Operating under the banner IP Inclusive, the task force exists to implement the challenging diversity-improving initiatives agreed during the round-table discussions.
Joint statement of intent
We are committed to making the IP professions more inclusive. We believe that there is value, not only to the professions and their individual members, but also to the IP system as a whole and its users, in ensuring that the IP professionals of the future encourage, embrace and sustain a more diverse workforce.
We will work together to ensure that for all those who have the necessary aptitude, regardless of their age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, physical ability, wealth or background, the IP professions are:
[Very impressive, says Merpel, who is waiting for the day that equal treatment is seen to be given to all staff when it comes to glossy marketing brochures, recruitment materials and client-facing websites: browsing through them, one would assume that there are no IP practitioners who have health issues relating to obesity or to skin conditions -- the people portrayed, if not professional models, could well get jobs in the fashion sector if IP ever let them down] We will encourage the IP professionals within our organisations to adopt best practices for securing increased diversity and inclusion. We will collaborate to train and support IP professionals in such practices, and to raise awareness of relevant issues. We will take a firm stance against any form of unlawful, unfair or otherwise inappropriate discrimination, whether during recruitment to the IP professions or in the working environment.
Following the round-table meeting on 27 January 2015, we, the undersigned, will commit to a range of joint initiatives aimed at achieving the above outcomes and improving diversity throughout the IP professions.
- The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA)
- The Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (ITMA)
- The IP Federation
- The UK association of the International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys (FICPI-UK)
The IP Inclusive initiative operates under four work streams (click to find out more)This Kat thinks that this is a positive step that deserves far more publicity, particularly in universities that teach IP law [this is specifically mentioned under 'Awareness-raising' above]: he has spoken to many potential candidates for the IP professions over the years who have felt deterred from even trying to enter one or other of them on account of their own self-assessment of the risk of being rejected on the basis of prejudice. He also knows of specific instances of actual prejudice, though fortunately their incidence seems to have declined markedly in recent times.
|But would Ginger be welcome too?|