BMS, Intel join WIPR’s Diversity Champions launch


Muireann Bolger

BMS, Intel join WIPR’s Diversity Champions launch

nitpicker /

Leading IP counsel have commended the launch of World Intellectual Property Review’s inaugural Diversity Champions list.

The question of how to effectively promote diversity and inclusion (D&I) throughout the IP sector continues to loom large. Despite many firms pledging to tackle systemic barriers such as racism and implicit bias, there are still relatively low numbers of women in leadership positions in IP, and even fewer people of colour.

According to a 2020 report by the Law Society, only 8% of partners in the UK’s top 50 firms come from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, representing a rise of just 1% since 2014.

This year, WIPR has launched its Diversity Champions survey to celebrate IP professionals who have been outstanding in their efforts to promote the D&I agenda. The finalised list will be drawn from the survey results and will feature in a special supplement later this year.

Commenting on the launch, Laurie Charrington, associate general counsel at Intel, said: “The IP practice continues to be one of the least diverse practice areas in law. As an industry, we need to continue to collaborate on impactful and innovative programmes and initiatives towards making our industry more diverse.”

She added: “I applaud the WIPR’s launch of the Diversity Champions survey as just one initiative to recognise and celebrate the outstanding and important work IP professionals have done to promote and foster D&I and the strides they have made towards making our practice more inclusive.”

A crucial issue

Elisabeth Stewart Bradley, vice-president, innovation law, trademarks, copyrights, and brand protection at Bristol Myers Squibb, said: "I would like to commend WIPR for the launch of its inaugural Diversity Champions list. D&I continues to be a crucial issue for our industry.

“There are so many areas requiring focus to continue improving diversity in the legal profession and it is vital that we recognise, support and celebrate  inspirational IP professionals who are diligent in their efforts to promote D&I initiatives, and who truly make an enduring and worthwhile difference."

Eldora Ellison, director at law firm Sterne Kessler, Goldstein & Fox, also hailed the initiative.

“I was excited to hear about the new Diversity Champions list WIPR has established. It is well known that D&I has long been a challenge in the legal industry, and even more so in the IP arena. There is so much to be done to continue to bring a broad range of people into the IP space, but there has been good progress in recent years,” she said.

“Acknowledging those that have led the charge is so important. We need to recognise their leadership and efforts while learning from their successes. We then have to aggressively push further by understanding the issues that continue to create challenges and invest in the programmes and initiatives that address those challenges in order to move us all forward.”

As part of the nominations process, WIPR is also inviting nominations for five of the brightest women in the IP industry to feature in its third annual 100 Influential Women in IP list. This list recognises and celebrates the achievements of leading women in IP.

It is also important to recognise relatively new entrants to our sector who have already made a significant and worthwhile contribution. To celebrate new trailblazers in our industry, WIPR is looking for nominations for three women with ten years of IP practice experience, or less. 

In addition, WIPR has launched its third annual diversity survey this month to gather in-depth information on D&I in the IP industry to highlight best practice and identify the issues that need improvement. Don’t miss your opportunity to have your say!

Did you enjoy reading this story? Sign up to our free daily newsletters and get stories sent like this straight to your inbox

Today’s top stories

UPC scenarios: optimists look to summer 2022

African govts aiming to ‘eradicate’ counterfeits with new platform

Olaplex, L’Oréal lose Fed Circuit appeals over haircare patent

BMS, Intel, Sterne Kessler, diversity , inclusion, IP, diversity champions, Influential Women in IP