IP Inclusive: how it all began...

The first round-table

In January 2015, the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) hosted a round-table on Diversity in IP. The meeting agreed to establish a pan-professional task force to implement a challenging range of diversity-improving initiatives that had emerged from the discussions.

This task force – operating under the banner “IP Inclusive” – quickly grew in strength and numbers, underpinned by its four founding organisations CIPA, the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA), the IP Federation and the UK association of the International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys (FICPI-UK). Right from the start, it was also actively supported by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

A pan-professional workforce

IP Inclusive attracted involvement from patent and trade mark attorneys, IP solicitors and barristers, patent and trade mark administrators, information scientists, IP Office examiners and many others working in the IP sector. The work of these volunteers was divided into four streams:

  • awareness-raising upstream of the IP professions, to attract a wider pool of potential recruits
  • a best practice equality, diversity and inclusion charter
  • training and awareness-raising within the IP sector
  • support schemes and community groups

Building on the foundations

During 2015 we laid the foundations. In 2016 we began to build on them. A second annual round-table was held in January 2016. IP Inclusive reviewed its achievements so far and set its objectives for the coming year: to increase awareness of the initiative and its work, and to involve more people from the full range of IP professions.

The EDI Charter had been agreed and launched in the second half of 2015. In 2016 it became a key rallying point, widening uptake and facilitating support and engagement with signatories to improve standards across the IP professions.

Our range of activities quickly blossomed. The IP Out and Women in IP networking and support communities were established, with a third, IP & ME, following in 2017. Webinars were held on unconscious bias, as well as a range of other training and discussion events. Our community of Charter signatories expanded; we welcomed our 100th signatory in the spring of 2017, when we also celebrated winning the first ever Managing IP award for Corporate Social Responsibility. And we continued to engage with our growing number of supporters through Twitter, LinkedIn and our website blog, which carried posts on all manner of diversity-related topics.

We have also since created other awareness-raising resources – in particular the Careers in Ideas website and materials, officially launched in April 2018 – and we have taken them out to the communities from which the IP professions recruit: work that will benefit all of our supporters’ businesses.

In November 2018, we held our first IP Inclusive Week, celebrating and raising awareness of the efforts our sector is making – a fitting conclusion to the year in which IP Inclusive had won its second award, the memcom membership excellence award for “best equality or diversity campaign”.

And onwards…

This website was launched in 2019, beginning another year when we hope IP Inclusive will go from strength to strength, raising standards and bringing people together throughout the IP professions. If you haven’t already, please join us!

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