CIPA, ITMA, the UK Association of the International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys (FICPI-UK), and the IP Federation have recently created a joint taskforce to improve diversity in the IP profession. A number of key areas have been identified for action and the taskforce currently has a group dedicated to each of the following issues:
Raising awareness of and improving access to the IP professions: the IP profession encompasses all jobs associated with intellectual property, from records and formalities to Patent Office Examiners, patent and trade mark searchers to patent illustrators, technology transfer officers to licensing executives, not just attorneys and solicitors!
In particular, this group is raising awareness in schools, targeting students, teachers and parents to generally make sure all children know there could be a job for them in IP. If anyone is interested in helping with school (or University) outreach, please get in touch with Alexandra (email@example.com) or Parminder (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Raising standards within the profession through a diversity accreditation scheme: this group aims to create a tiered charter system firms can subscribe to that showcases their commitment to diversity in the profession.
Raising standards within the profession through training: this group is devising ways to deliver appropriate diversity training to the profession.
If anyone is interest in helping with the accreditation scheme or in improving diversity training, please contact Andrea Brewster at CIPA and she can point you in the right direction (AndreaBrewsterCIPA@greavesbrewster.co.uk).
Raising standards within the profession through support: a number of support initiatives have been proposed, including a network for women in IP, an LGBT support group, and a BME support group. If anyone has any thoughts on a support group they would like to see for the profession, or wants to help organise or run a support group, please contact Lee Davies at CIPA (Lee@cipa.org.uk).
All of the work done by the diversity taskforce will come under a central branding which will cover all of the institutions involved. If anyone feels particularly creative and wants to be part of creating this new brand, which will be used for the accreditation scheme and on all material created by the task force, please contact Neil Lampert at CIPA (Neil@cipa.org.uk).
Parminder and myself will keep you all updated with the important diversity goings on, but if you are interested in being part of it at all, please shout!