Between 26 January and 21 February 2021 they asked registered patent and trade mark attorneys to complete an online questionnaire to gather basic data about the diversity of their regulated community. The survey, though voluntary, yielded 1121 complete responses.
The results broadly reflected those of the 2019 IP Inclusive benchmarking survey (see here). They revealed very low levels of LGBT+, BAME and disabled professionals. Figures around social mobility were more encouraging however: nearly 43% of respondents had attended a non-selective (including on academic grounds) state school, and roughly 45% were part of the first generation of their family to go to university.
We commend IPReg for taking this first step to measure diversity in the professions they regulate. The data from this and subsequent surveys will allow us all to take more informed action to improve diversity and inclusivity (D&I) in this important part of the UK’s IP sector, the 2021 results establishing a benchmark against which to measure our progress. IP Inclusive and its communities look forward to working with IPReg to do that. Our submissions in response to their recent regulatory review (reported here) included recommendations for how D&I improvements might be encouraged and supported through the regulatory framework.
Lord Chris Smith, Chair of IPReg, commented in his introduction to the report:
The field of brilliant IP attorneys embraces men and women, young and old, LGBT+, people with disabilities, people with caring responsibilities, people from advantaged and disadvantaged backgrounds, people from a huge range of ethnic backgrounds. And to get the very best field of attorneys there can possibly be, we must ensure that no one feels they are potentially excluded because of who or what they are. That’s why sustaining and enhancing the diversity of the profession is so important.
Of the survey itself, he said:
It gives us a snapshot picture of the profession, but more importantly it provides us with much food for thought, and the opportunity to consider how we can remove barriers and welcome broader diversity into the future.
IPReg say the findings of the survey will assist them in identifying the actions and support required to ensure the professions are inclusive and diverse and reflect the needs of modern consumers. They have pledged to work together with the profession on this, and welcome responses and ideas about how best to do so. You can reach them using their online contact form here.