We’re consulting with our stakeholders about the future development of IP Inclusive. We’ve written to our Charter signatories to seek their views, but would welcome input from all our supporters, whether individual IP professionals or the organisations they belong to.
You can access our survey below: please take a few minutes to complete it. There’s one version for Charter signatories and another, anonymous, version for individual IP professionals. Below the survey links you’ll find more information about the context.
Your feedback will be key to the decisions we take.
We want to put IP Inclusive onto a more sustainable footing for the future, to allow it to grow whilst maintaining the goodwill of its many supporters.
In order to do this, we are proposing to formalise the initiative’s structure, incorporating it as a “Community Interest Company” (CIC). A CIC is a limited liability company, with certain safeguards to ensure it acts in the interests of the community it serves: see here. It is less onerous to constitute than a registered charity, and has more flexibility in terms of the commercial activities it can engage in, whilst nevertheless providing the transparency, accountability and governance safeguards of a regulated legal entity.
The CIC’s objectives would be to promote and improve equality, diversity, inclusivity and wellbeing among UK-based IP professionals. The “community” it served would likely be defined as “UK-based IP professionals and those wishing to become one”.
We envisage a corporate structure similar to the current IP Inclusive, with a paid executive to manage day-to-day operations and a steering board to provide oversight and guidance. The board would, we hope, carry representatives from across the IP professions, including from the founding organisations (CIPA, CITMA, FICPI-UK and IP Federation) and the IPO. The volunteers who are the life-blood of the initiative would, as now, sit outside the formal structure, but be protected and supported by its existence.
Importantly, the CIC would be independent of its founding organisations – although it would still welcome their involvement and support.
A CIC would incur certain basic operating costs, including remuneration of its executive. In the current set-up, such costs are being temporarily met by CIPA, CITMA, IP Federation and IPReg. We are therefore consulting with our stakeholders – our volunteers, sponsors, Charter signatories and other supporters – about the feasibility of the proposed CIC model. We want to know, essentially, whether you agree with what we are planning and whether you would be willing to help us fund it.
Once we’ve collected survey responses and other input from our supporters, we plan to report the results on our website News and Features and IP Inclusive Management pages, and there will be further consultation during and after our next annual meeting in early 2021.
If the proposed new CIC structure appears to be feasible, and to be broadly supported, we would hope to press ahead with its creation in the late spring or early summer of 2021.