The IPKat and Merpel stand against racism

Intellectual property law is all about encouraging innovation and creativity. About making new things and pushing the boundaries to benefit and enrich society. We share visions of the promise of what can be changed and what can be improved. We pride ourselves in challenging outdated thinking, in dismantling the orthodoxy. And the system rewards us when we do. These are the foundations of our profession.

The tragic killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery have resulted in protests in and outside the US to highlight the issues ethnic minorities, particularly Black communities, face in our society. This has forced many of us to ask whether our own inaction or action perpetuates racism in our personal and professional communities.

Individuals and companies have used their platforms to speak out. These tragedies didn't happen in the UK, but the Law Society (see here) and Bar Council (see here) have said something. The American Bar Association and national, state and local bar associations also spoke out (here and here).  Yesterday evening, as the IPKat was finalising this post, CIPA spoke out (see here).  

The IPKat is vocal about many topics impacting our field.  It must also speak out about the issue of racism in our communities and profession.  The impact of systemic racism in the US, the UK, Europe and across the world impacts everything we do.  It is real.  As the world has seen these past few weeks, it impacts whether someone is killed while going for a jog.  Or whether someone is more likely to die from COVID-19.  It impacts whose ideas get publicised, whose invention gets marketed (or even remembered), whose art gets recognised and rewarded. Who gets hired.  Who gets funding. Who gets their work stolen.  Who has access to the best lawyer.  Whose voices are heard.  Who gets to make a decision on it all.  

The IPKat ethos is based on the open and respectful exchange of ideas and opinions on IP law and practice in order to better our understanding of IP law and of each other.  The legal profession suffers if voices and contributions of those in our communities are systematically excluded, silenced or minimised on the basis of race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin.  For too long, our colleagues and friends have had to endure racism, prejudice, gaslighting, microaggression and violence.   

As lawyers, creators and technologists we have an obligation to fight injustice with our actions, words, works and inventions.  If our profession is about innovation and improving and enriching the lives of all in our society, then we have to do better.  The IPKat, therefore, calls on its readers to educate themselves on the issues.  The IPKat suggests that you reach out to your friends and colleagues and promise to take a stand.  Establish diversity and inclusion teams within your firms and companies and engage in D&I initiatives.  D&I initiatives are important.  They help to create a better society and a profession that reflects the communities which it serves.  

On Thursday (11 June) from 6-7:30PM (London time), ChIPs and Corporate Counsel Women of Color have joined forces for a candid discussion on the issues of white privilege and race.  Leaders in law will discuss the concrete steps that we can take to tackle racism in law, IP and our communities.  Noreen Krall (Vice President and Chief Litigation Counsel for Apple and one of the founders of ChIPs) will moderate the session and will be joined by Laurie Robinson-Haden (CEO and Founder of Corporate Counsel Women of Color), Laurie Charrington (Associate General Counsel at Intel and ChIPs Honor Roll Co-Chair), Danielle Conley, (Partner and Co-Chair of Anti-Discrimination Practice at WilmerHale), Judge Kathleen O’Malley (Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals Federal Circuit) and Judge Ann Claire Williams (Ret.) (Of Counsel, Jones Day).  To sign up  - click here and here - and to attend - click here.  

Members of the IPKat Team have made donations to charities and organisations with anti-racist missions and initiatives. Please consider doing the same.


Suggested reading materials see the list published in the Guardian here.
A list of UK-based social and racial justice charities here.
A non-exhaustive list of things white people can do to tackle racism here.
Resources to connect Londoners to Black-owned business here.
The IPKat and Merpel stand against racism The IPKat and Merpel stand against racism Reviewed by Merpel McKitten on Monday, June 08, 2020 Rating: 5
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