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.
- 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 a memner of IP Inclusive’s Women in IP Group.
- WoMEn collaboration group member Maria Hall is a member of the IP Inclusive Menopause Working Group.
- 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.
Women at our Firm
We launched our Women of Mewburn Ellis network (WoMEn) in November 2022. This community 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. The community 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 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.