Gender equality, BAME representation and diversity in a wider sense has taken centre stage in recent years, and many professions are taking a closer look at their own make-up.

In the world of innovation, several studies have investigated gender in inventorship. In 2020 WIPO revealed that over a period of 25 years the share of female inventors named in international patent applications almost doubled from 9.5% in 1995 up to 18.7 % in 2019. Based on these statistics and assuming a constant rate of change parity could be expected no earlier than 2044.

Another study looking at the proportion of female inventors by residence country shows that between 1998 and 2017 female inventorship in the UK has risen from 8% to 11%. Over the same period China showed the largest increase of female inventors from 10% to 14% while France displayed a steady proportion of female inventors at around 16%.

In this context it is informative to look at the make-up of the IP legal profession. A recent survey conducted by IPReg, the regulatory body of patent & trade mark attorneys, sheds some light on the diversity within the IP profession. The survey was completed by over 1000 individuals 55% of respondents identifying themselves as male and 42% as female. The survey suggests a profile in which almost 80% of the profession is of white ethnic background, just over 4% have a disability and 53% have parent(s) with degree level qualification or higher. The survey also provides further insights into sexual orientation, age groups and advantaged/disadvantage background among others.

Although the profession has come a long way to tackle a lack of diversity, these figures show that there is still some work ahead of us and that all stakeholders including IP firms, recruitment agencies, schools and universities have a role to play in making our profession more inclusive.

Great recognition goes to IP inclusive, a network of IP professionals that encourages a more diverse IP community through awareness events and support programs. In the past few years IP Inclusive have been working hard to improve diversity, inclusion and wellbeing in the IP sector via a number of initiatives and resources which are free for all UK-based IP professionals.

Scintilla is proud to be a member and supporter of IP Inclusive and we hope that the IP Inclusive network will keep growing!


More details on IP Inclusive’s activities and fundraising campaign can be found on their website as well as on their crowdfunding page.