Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Women in CIPA

20 January 2015

Now I am trying not to be miffed about the comments on the IPKat blog about Women in IP.  I am not doing very well at not being miffed about these either. 

Some people are nasty about women.  Some other people are nasty about men, especially although not exclusively the men who are nasty about women.  Some people are nasty about CIPA.  Everyone is being so nasty.  I cannot help thinking that if they would all just get together for caramel custard tarts like the patent attorneyettes do then the world would be a better place. 

Let us think about CIPA for a moment, dear reader.  It has its second ever female President.  Its third ever female Vice-President.  It has 5 women on its governing Council, out of 25 alphabetically-labelled but extremely erudite members and me.  As a token of appreciation of its second ever female President, it gave her a set of CIPA cufflinks.  It still regards the CIPA tie pin as the ultimate in Christmas giftware. 

BUT.  Among the CIPA staff, there are both women and men, in a variety of roles.  When we interview for new recruits, Mr Davies Tipp-ex®es out the names from the CVs to prevent any kind of discrimination.  (Sometimes he gets carried away and accidentally Tipp-exes out important information, too; it is well known that Tipp-ex fumes can impair your mental functions.)  Gender does not seem to be an issue there.

And on Council, I have to say I have not experienced misogyny.  Surprise, yes.  Outrage, yes.  But to be fair, this was not because I was a woman but because I said surprising and outrageous things.  Loudly.

Now, it is well known that my optimism knows no bounds, and this is largely because I have little clue what’s going on around me.  It is possible that this makes me so thick-skinned that I have accidentally not noticed anyone disrespecting me for being a patent attorneyette.  But I actually think not.  I actually think the people governing CIPA are a broad-minded lot when confronted with a straight-talking woman.  They don’t much like change.  They don’t much like risk.  They’re not that keen on the 21st Century.  But women, well, women are the least of their problems.  There are claims to amend, typos to correct: these are much bigger issues.


  1. Or perhaps my memory fails me. Was JN VP?

  2. Ah. Good point. Not sure. There will be some dusty journal somewhere that records these things. I should check my facts better; sorry.