Spotlight on

Women in IP

This page is a celebration of women in our industry.

From the scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs to the attorneys and lawyers that support them, and the teams of paralegals, secretaries, and operations specialists that in turn support them. We have a vast ecosystem of women in the IP industry, all of which play an invaluable part. Mewburn Ellis value these women, and as a firm that’s made up of over 60% women - know how vital they are and we want to encourage more women to thrive in innovation and in business

Women in IP

We work with lots of women scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs. Our focus is on working with them to guide them through their IP challenges and meet their needs in a way that works best for them. We also want to encourage more female entrepreneurship in general. For example, it is recognised by the patent offices that women are massively underrepresented on patent applications. The European Patent Office recently found that fewer than one in seven inventors were women. There are lots of reasons that contribute to this, but it means that as a society we’re not capitalising on women’s ideas. This is a huge, missed opportunity. We want to encourage more women to thrive in business.

The proportion of women in Intellectual Property law also continues to lag behind that of their male counterparts all over the world. An increase in the amount of female representation at all levels is not just desirable but essential. Despite significant advancements in gender diversity within the profession over the decades, there are still challenges that impact women IP attorneys, and this is reflected in the number of women in senior roles. Enabling and encouraging women to enter the IP profession must be an ongoing effort and it’s essential that once they do join, that we help them do great work and to stay in the profession for the long haul.

We actively participate to support women in the IP industry and beyond:

  • Fran Salisbury our Women’s Champion is an everywomanChampion and has been recognised as a WIPR Diversity 2023 ‘Influential Woman in IP’ – women who have built some of the most successful careers in IP, including some who are already making waves in the industry.
  • We are a supporter of the Fawcett Equality Network, so commit to promoting their values to achieve a society in which women and girls in all their diversity are equal and truly free to fulfil their potential; and to create a workplace where women are treated equally.
  • We have signed the Menopause Workplace Pledge.
  • WoMEn collaboration group member Lucy Coe is committee lead of IP Inclusive’s Women in IP Group and has been recognised as a WIPR Diversity 2023 ‘Trailblazer’ – women with a decade or less experience in the IP industry who stood out due to their impressive practice in IP and their determination to promote inclusion and diversity within the sector.
  • WoMEn collaboration group member Maria Hall is a member of the IP Inclusive Menopause Working Group and has been recognised as a WIPR Diversity 2023 ‘Change Driver’ – a new category which recognises and celebrates the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) work undertaken—and often sparked—by members of the business services teams in IP firms and companies.
  • We actively support AIPLA Women in IP Law Global Networking Events each year.
  • We have donated over £30,000 in the last two years to women focussed charities.
  • We have donated over £120,000 over the last three years to CREST which actively support getting children into science.
  • We also regularly feature women in our magazine Forward.
  • We promote women in business whenever we can, writing and commenting in the media.
  • We celebrate women focussed days such as International Women’s Day.
  • We are proud to have been awarded the Menopause Friendly Accreditation, established by Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace, recognising high standards and proven practices which embrace menopause in the workplace.

Women at our Firm

We launched our Women of Mewburn Ellis network (WoMEn) in November 2022.  This network quickly grew to over 100 members (over 28% of the firm), with women and allies from across the business; from trainees through to board members, and covering both fee earners and business services. The group is led by Partner Fran Salisbury (our “Women’s Champion”), supported by a diverse collaboration group made up of twelve women who help run the network.  The network aims to champion women within the firm and the broader IP community.  

Whilst we do not think there is discrimination against women at the firm, or a problem to “fix”, we do think there is room for further development, empowering women to be the best that they can be. The first stage in establishing the network has been about information gathering, asking those women what they thought, and asking what they need in order to thrive.  This led us to develop our WoMEn Network strategy with a focus on championing women within the firm and improving their working lives as well as to encourage conversation about women and between women at the firm.

Read our Women in IP blogs

The HPV vaccine: the global success of prioritising women’s health

The HPV vaccine: the global success of prioritising women’s health

by Alice Jefferies

Let's talk about the HPV vaccine - a revolutionary drug and global strategy that proved how investing in and raising awareness about women's health benefits everyone.

How data changed our understanding and care of breast cancer

How data changed our understanding and care of breast cancer

by Camille Terfve

Breast cancer does not only affect women, but it mostly affects them1. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. Yet in England, about 3 in 4 women diagnosed with breast cancer will go on to ...

Medical devices: Insights through IP - new report 2024

Medical devices: Insights through IP - new report 2024

by Joanna Smith

We are delighted to release our latest report Medical devices: Insights through IP which looks at the recent IP trends in the medical devices sector.

Endometriosis - research, diagnosis and treatment progress

Endometriosis - research, diagnosis and treatment progress

by Fay Allen

March is Endometriosis Action Month, and this year’s focus is on raising awareness.

Challenging patents and other clearance actions in Europe

Challenging patents and other clearance actions in Europe

by Lucy Coe

Whether it is to remove a current infringement threat, clear the way to reduce the risk in launching a new product, for negotiation purposes, or as part of a commercial strategy aimed at attacking a ...

Updates to the Guidelines for Examination at the EPO

Updates to the Guidelines for Examination at the EPO

by Rebecca Brooks

The Guidelines for Examination at the EPO (which will be referred to as “the Guidelines” in this article) elaborate on the various articles/rules of the European Patent Convention and provide ...

Learn More

Meet our Women's Champion

Fran Salisbury

Partner, Patent Attorney, Women's Champion


In November 2022 we launched our WoMEn of Mewburn Ellis Network which is led by our Women's Champion Fran Salisbury. She is responsible for leading the development and implementation of our Women's strategy and ensuring the firm maintains focus and momentum on this important topic.

Fran leads the WoMEn Network Collaboration Group, which is made up of twelve women from across the firm. The group is a cross section from trainees through to board members and covers both fee earners and business services. This broad range of ages, experience and roles makes this a rich and diverse group to champion women within the firm and the broader IP community.

Frances Sailsbury - Oct 2022 -1
Open pages of IP Equality report

Special Report: Women in IP

IP Equality: A collection of articles about Women in IP

At Mewburn Ellis we champion women. This special report is a collection of articles from our Forward magazine, bringing together some of our recent features about brilliant women from the world of IP.


WoMEn in IP Network

Women in IP working together and supporting eachother

There doesnt seem to be a network for all women in IP. We think this is a gap that should be filled! We're in the process of setting up the WoMEn in IP Network. This will be an online community where all women working in IP can come together and support eachother. We're building an online platform that will enable us to chat, share stories and information, find resources, access events and generally support eachother. It's coming soon so please do let us know if you would like to get involved. Please email to register your interest.

Rob Andrews I+D social

Inclusivity is important 

Publishing our diversity and gender paygap data

We are a firm that is committed to diversity of thought, ideas and viewpoints and where all our people, regardless of their background, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, disability or sexual orientation feel they belong.

We published our gender paygap data before we had to and also publish our diversity statistics.

Diversity Dashboard

Charity Overview

Charity is important to us

As part of our commitment to women at the firm we allocate community funds to specifically support women's charities. 

These charities are nominated and voted for by our women’s group the WoMEn of Mewburn Ellis Network. Each charity has received a donation of between £3,000-£5,000. We have donated £33,000 to women's charities since 2022.

Find out more

Pregnant then Screwed-1 BGP_logo_red
Fawcett Society logo