Our Charter scheme is open to all UK-based organisations that work in or with IP professionals. It doesn’t matter what size you are (from sole practitioners to large multinational companies); what sector you work in (private practice, industry, public sector, charity, academia, media etc); or what type(s) of product or service you provide within the UK’s IP system.
However, you do need to have a genuine place of business in the UK.
Our Charter signatories include in-house IP departments and teams that operate within larger companies. If this applies to you, please select “Option B” when signing up, so that the commitments you make are on behalf of the department or team only.
Signing up to the IP Inclusive Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Charter is a public endorsement of the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion within the UK’s IP professions.
It involves making six commitments, which are designed to be achievable by individuals and organisations working in or with IP – in industry, private practice or any other relevant sector, whatever their size and structure, wherever they are based and whatever the nature of their involvement with IP.
By signing up to the Charter, you commit to supporting equality, diversity and inclusion by:
Many organisations will already meet or exceed these commitments, but they have been designed to be achievable by even the smallest organisation or sole practitioner, as well as by those who are relatively new to EDI concepts.
We know that many organisations already have EDI policies and are involved in EDI initiatives. The IP Inclusive Charter is not intended to replace or conflict with these – but it represents a public commitment to good practices that is specific to the IP professions. This means that it is also suitable for IP departments within larger organisations.
Involvement in the IP Inclusive Charter community will help you to improve equality, diversity and inclusion within your own organisation, with all the business benefits and positive PR that brings. It will demonstrate your commitment to your staff and their wellbeing, and to a better IP profession for all, in turn helping you to attract and retain new recruits.
The benefits of being an IP Inclusive EDI Charter signatory include:
We also have a number of regional networks of Charter signatories, to encourage organisations to exchange ideas and experiences and support one another’s EDI efforts. See here to find out what there is in your area, or contact us if you’d be interested in setting up a new network where you are.
Take a look at our list of current Charter signatories.
They represent a wide range of UK-based entities, from sole practitioners to large international law firms, including in-house departments in small businesses, global corporations and public sector bodies. They include patent and trade mark practices; law firms and barristers’ chambers with IP specialism; and other professionals involved in IP, for example IP managers, searchers, information providers and publishers; IP recruitment specialists; membership bodies such as ACID, CIPA, CITMA, FICPI-UK and The IP Federation; and (one of our earliest signatories) the UK Intellectual Property Office. They are based throughout the UK. This is a pan-professional scheme.
To sign up to the IP Inclusive EDI Charter, you need to complete a simple form providing us with your contact details. By doing so, you are agreeing to the six Charter commitments listed above.
You will be asked to provide details of two people:
Your EDI Officer can be the same as the Authorised Signatory. If you would like to appoint more than one EDI Officer to receive IP Inclusive updates – for example to cover different office locations or different departments within your organisation – please contact our EDI Charter Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are two options for signing up, one for when the Authorised Signatory is able to make a commitment on behalf of the whole organisation (this option is appropriate, for example, for private sector organisations), and one for use by in-house IP departments and teams working within a larger company, where the Charter commitments are made on behalf of the department or team only.
Your Authorised Signatory and designated EDI Officer will receive a welcome email from our EDI Charter Group. This will give you more information about how you can get involved with IP Inclusive.
We will add your name to our website list of Charter signatories. We will also add your details to our database of Charter signatories. Your named individual(s) will be subscribed to our Charter Signatories and EDI Officers mailing lists, so that we can keep them updated on what IP Inclusive is doing. See below for more information about the data protection side of things.
The rest is up to you really. Please join in as many of our events and activities as possible, make use of our resources, and do what you can to publicise IP Inclusive throughout your organisation and wider contacts. If you would like help developing your EDI policies and strategies, a good place to start is the “Steps to Inclusion” review developed for us by Focal Point Training.
We also have a number of regional Charter signatory networks, which organise more local events and activities: please get involved if there’s one near to you, and if there isn’t, we’d love to help you set something up.
Another important thing you can do is to ask your senior members to sign up to the IP Inclusive Senior Leaders’ Pledge. Unlike the main Charter, this is a commitment entered into by individuals not organisations, to demonstrate a personal commitment to diversity and inclusion. It’s for managing partners, chief executives and others in senior, decision-making roles, and includes promises to champion diversity at the highest levels and throughout the organisation, as well as to work alongside more junior colleagues to effect positive change. This helps make sure that signing up to the Charter really does mean something in your organisation.
…Which leads nicely to our next point. The IP Inclusive EDI Charter is a self-certification scheme. We rely on our signatories to make every effort they can to fulfil the six commitments, and we provide resources to help them do that. Whilst we reserve the right, if we learn that one of our signatories is not fulfilling the Charter commitments, to investigate and to take appropriate action (for example withdrawing their Charter signatory status), we are a small organisation run largely by volunteers and we do not have the resources to turn these things into a big deal. There are far more negative consequences to poor EDI practices than any sanctions IP Inclusive could impose.
So, please do not sign up to the Charter as a mere box-ticking exercise; make this a genuine commitment to take action to improve equality, diversity and inclusion where you work.
Don’t worry. IP Inclusive is here to help. There are plenty of useful templates and information sources on our resources page, including a sample EDI policy and a “Quick Wins” toolkit full of practical EDI-improving ideas. We also run frequent training and awareness-raising events that are usually free for all IP professionals to attend. Please get in touch if you need more; we can often point you in the right direction for further resources and guidance.
So long as you’ve a definite intention to make the requisite changes – for instance in your internal policies and procedures – you can still sign up to the Charter even if the changes aren’t completely finished. Improving equality, diversity and inclusion is an ongoing process, and our Charter is a commitment to keep at it.
We use the data we collect from you when you sign up to the Charter to keep you informed about our activities and the support we need to continue them, and about issues and resources relevant to equality, diversity and inclusion in the IP professions. Most of our updates will be sent to the EDI Officers only, but occasionally it will be appropriate for us to contact the Authorised Signatories as well.
If you have any questions or concerns to do with our EDI Charter, or need to share information with us, you can contact our EDI Charter Group at email@example.com.
Please remember to let us know about any significant changes to your organisation, for example the appointment of a new EDI Officer, or a change of name or address or legal status. Please note that for your organisation to remain a Charter signatory, we do need to have contact details for at least one designated EDI Officer and an Authorised Signatory.