IP Inclusive, a community of intellectual property (IP) professionals working towards more inclusivity in the sector, has set up a chapter in the South West.
Founded in 2015 by four IP-related trade associations, the national organisation unites the IP community in creating a more welcoming, accessible, and supportive sector for its professionals.
The new arm of the initiative brings together IP lawyers, trade mark and patent attorneys and other IP professionals in the region to address topical issues affecting the industry.
While tackling a broad range of topics, IP Inclusive’s main activities fall under three key groups: IP & ME, focused on overcoming challenges faced by ethnic minority professionals; IP Out, addressing LGBT+ issues; and Women in IP, tackling matters predominantly affecting female IP professionals.
More than 130 organisations are already signatories of IP Inclusive’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Charter, including IP departments of government organisations and major employers such as IBM and Dyson, alongside law and trade mark and patent attorney firms across the country.
IP Inclusive’s South West committee comprises Bristol and Bath-based IP professionals: Megan Jefferies, partner at Thrings, Rachel Jones, senior associate at Mewburn Ellis, Fiona McBride, partner at Withers & Rogers, Jim Pearson, partner at Abel & Imray, Caroline Day and Susan Gregory, partner and Head of HR respectively, at Haseltine Lake Kempner.
Megan Jefferies said: “Hundreds of IP professionals operate in the South West, with a significant proportion of these being women, ethnic minorities, LGBT+ or a combination of these.
"We’re delighted to be bringing these communities and their allies together in a bid to make the profession more inclusive and provide a rewarding career path for its members.”
Abel & Imray will be hosting an IP Inclusive webinar during Mental Health Awareness Week in May before the regional committee kicks off a series of events with a mental health-focused gathering at Mewburn Ellis in June.
Speakers are expected from the UKIPO and Jonathan’s Voice.
In April, Thrings hosted IP Inclusive’s Women in IP global networking event, in association with the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA).
The Bristol gathering attracted 40 women and men, connecting them via telephone link to a series of international events in celebration of women in the industry.
Megan added: “The AIPLA-led Women in IP event was met with huge enthusiasm, highlighting the appetite to bring the local IP community together on these important issues.
"Whatever your gender, sexual orientation, and whether you’re part of a minority group or not, we welcome you to join our events and play your part in supporting a more inclusive IP profession in the South West.”