A recent World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) report highlighted a significant issue in the diversity of IP creation. According to WIPO it may take until 2080 before a gender balance in Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications is achieved.
This is one of the reasons why the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) held a round table meeting in 2015 to address the issue of diversity in the IP industry. The meeting led to the creation of IP Inclusive, a pan-professional diversity task force to implement challenging diversity-improving initiatives within the IP industry. The group has representation spanning patent and trade mark attorneys, IP solicitors and barristers, patent and trade mark administrators, information scientists, IP Office examiners and HR professionals from IP practices.
At CPA Global we recently became a signatory to IP Inclusive – one of almost 100 companies that have agreed to the following charter in support of diversity.
We will support equality, diversity and inclusion by:
- Having in place a named individual within our organisation as equality, diversity and inclusion officer to make change happen and to be accountable for our progress.
- Having in place a written Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy for our organisation and making everybody in the organisation aware of it.
- Promoting openness and transparency so as to demonstrate merit-based equal opportunities in our recruitment and career progression processes.
- Acknowledging the effects of unconscious bias and introducing measures to tackle it.
- Monitoring and reporting internally on our progress using measures and at intervals that are appropriate to our size and nature.
- Sharing our experience within the IP Inclusive community to help build an effective network for equality, diversity and inclusion across the IP sector.
Promoting diversity is not only the right thing to do, it also makes commercial sense. In an increasingly diverse world, ideas creation and protection can deliver transformative improvements to people’s lives. Inventors and designers are often most successful when they walk a mile in the shoes of the people they are inventing or designing for to understand more about the specific challenges that different groups of people face.
By considering the needs of diverse groups of people when creating ideas, often the resulting products have significant mainstream appeal. The OXO Good Grips brand now sells more than 1,000 products globally. The brand was founded more than 25 years ago, when Sam Farber noticed that his wife Betsy was having trouble holding a vegetable peeler due to her arthritis. Inspired by Betsy’s pain, Sam decided to invent a peeler that would work for her. A quarter of a century later the OXO Good Grips range of products appeal to a far wider group of people than arthritis sufferers – everyone can benefit from ideas created initially with a relatively small percentage of the population in mind.
Just like OXO Good Grips, businesses that look at diversity and inclusion as opportunities to create ideas can generate opportunities beyond expectation.
Businesses that look at diversity and inclusion as opportunities to create ideas can generate opportunities beyond expectation.