IP professionals launch regional group with aim of making sector more inclusive

May 10, 2019

Inclusivity in the South West’s burgeoning intellectual property (IP) sector is being encouraged by a group of professionals who have set up a regional chapter of national organisation IP Inclusive.

Founded in 2015 by four IP-related trade associations, IP Inclusive aims to create a more welcoming, accessible, and supportive sector for its 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 trademark and patent attorney firms across the country.

The new South West group brings together IP lawyers, trademark and patent attorneys and other IP professionals to address topical issues affecting the industry.

While covering 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.

IP Inclusive’s South West committee includes Megan Jefferies, a partner in regional law firm Thrings’ Bristol office, Rachel Jones, senior associate in the Bristol office of IP firm Mewburn Ellis, Fiona McBride, partner in the Bristol office of IP law firm Withers & Rogers, Jim Pearson, partner in IP firm Abel & Imray’s Bath office, and Caroline Day and Susan Gregory, partner and head of HR respectively at Bristol-based patent and trade mark attorneys Haseltine Lake Kempner.

Megan Jefferies, pictured, 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 (May 13-19) before the regional committee kicks off a series of events with a mental health-focused gathering at Mewburn Ellis next month. Speakers are expected from the UKIPO (the Intellectual Property Office of the United Kingdom) and Jonathan’s Voice, which was founded in 2017 in memory of patent attorney Jonathan McCartney who took his own life aged 35. It works with organisations and individuals to promote mental wellbeing in the workplace and beyond.

Last month Thrings’ Bristol office hosted IP Inclusive’s Women in IP global networking event, in association with the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA). The gathering attracted 40 women and men, connecting them via phone 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.”

IP Inclusive was founded in 2015 by the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA), IP Federation, the association of the International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys (FICPI-UK), and the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA).

For further information on IP Inclusive’s South West committee or to join the event mailing list, contact meganjefferies@thrings.com




Comments are closed.


Reach tens of thousands of senior business people across the Bath area for just £75 a month. Email info@bath-business.net for more information.