CIPA has been listening… On 6 December 2019 it issued a Call For Evidence as part of its Mercer Review of the Education, Training and Assessment of UK Chartered Patent Attorneys.
IP Inclusive has submitted a response to the Call for Evidence, which you can read here. It relates to aspects of the training and assessment systems that we believe could affect diversity and inclusion within, or access to, the patent profession. Since we believe that mental wellbeing is key to an inclusive workplace, we also included comments on the impact of the systems in that context.
In summary: our suggestions for the future
In the interests of fairer access to the patent profession, and of diversity and inclusivity within it, our response said that we would like to see:
- Assessment and qualification systems that have been subjected to independent EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) impact assessments to ensure they do not disadvantage, discourage or present a disproportionate barrier to entry for any particular group of people.
- Extension of such impact assessments to the current litigation skills qualification.
- Early-career training in unconscious bias and mental health self-care.
- Alleviation of negative effects of the qualification system on mental wellbeing, including by:
- Improving support for trainees and trainers
- Raising and unifying standards of training throughout the profession (for example by introducing training contracts and “train-the-trainer” courses)
- Continued efforts to improve the consistency and predictability of the Final Diploma exam results
- Countering the profession’s obsession with exams, and exploring broader ways to evaluate competence and career development.