Opening access to, as well as improving the diversity and inclusion of, the UK’s IP profession is of more importance now than ever. It is clear to all that the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are far reaching and are likely to impact on practically every area of society for generations to come. In the longer term, the economic impact is likely to have a particularly profound effect on social mobility, with the damage caused leading to fewer job opportunities, which will in turn likely fuel greater inequality of opportunity. The disproportionate impact of the disease on the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) community is also well known and actively being discussed.
Even before Covid-19 really hit in March this year, the topic of Diversity and Inclusion (in all its forms) in the IP profession was already top of my mind, as well as for others in the IP Federation. The IP Federation has a great history, turning 100 years old in April 2020, and as an industry association we have a great culture of respect for each other. Several of our Federation members helped to establish and support in its early days IP Inclusive, a pan-professional diversity task force committed to making the IP professions more inclusive for all those who have the necessary aptitude, regardless of their age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, physical ability, wealth or background. The Federation is also a member of its management board. Our collective response to Covid-19 shone a light on the care we have for one another, as described in our article ”IP owners step up to the plate”.