British Science Association
We are supporters of the British Science Association which works with the UK Government on a cross-party political scheme to improve the inclusivity of STEM in UK schools and universities. This is a long-term project that we hope will see increased diversity within the patent profession in the coming years.
We are supporting In2Science by sponsoring five young people from low income and disadvantaged backgrounds to give them an opportunity to gain practical insight into the STEM sector and encourage them to apply to university. Each year In2scienceUK receives over 2,000 student applications and gives nearly 500 students the opportunity to take part in life-changing STEM placement opportunities, working alongside researchers and industry professionals to get hands-on STEM experience. Our five students will also be given some insights into a career as a patent attorney. To date, 75% of participants have progressed onto STEM degrees.
D Young & Co was one of the original charter signatories for IP Inclusive, an initiative devoted to promoting equality, diversity and inclusivity throughout the IP profession. As a firm we promote IP inclusive events and initiatives to raise awareness of diversity and inclusion across our firm and within the IP profession.
On 10 November 2020, during “Careers In Ideas Week" 2021, representatives from D Young & Co met with over twenty patent and trade mark practices to establish a new high-level “think tank” devoted to improving diversity and inclusion in the IP profession. Instigated by IP Inclusive and supported by the membership bodies CIPA and CITMA, this pioneering project brought together senior and managing partners to share ideas and best practices and agree how to use their status, influence and connections to improve D&I for all. The collaboration underlines the patent and trade mark professions' commitment to diversity, and recognises the need for leadership from the most senior levels to create genuine, lasting changes to working practices and cultures. Further information about the initiative is available via the IP Inclusive press release.
IP Inclusive Leaders’ Pledge
The Leader's Pledge was launched by the IP Inclusive Senior Leaders' Think Tank in July 2021. The pledge aims to help senior professionals provide visible and active leadership on improving Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) in their organisations. D Young & Co Partner and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officer Dr Zöe Clyde-Watson was one of the first senior representatives to sign the Leaders’ Pledge, alongside other senior decision makers and patent and trade mark professionals, including representatives from CIPA and CITMA. In November 2022 an additional six D Young & Co partners announced their involvement in this initiative and also signed the Leader's Pledge.
The pledge is a commitment entered into by individuals rather than organisations, and includes eight high-level commitments for the individual to:
1. Provide visible and proactive leadership to improve D&I in their organisation.
2. Take D&I seriously at the highest level.
3. Embed and value D&I throughout the organisational culture.
4. Build trust and safe spaces throughout the organisation.
5. Educate themselves and their colleagues about D&I issues.
6. Share their privileges.
7. Insist on equity.
8. Work closely with HR and/or management colleagues to achieve this.
Further information about the pledge is available via our news release of 07 November 2022.
Having attended the launch of IP Ability at the end of 2019 we are delighted that in 2020 Technical Assistant Michael Reynolds became a member of the IP Ability Committee. IP Ability is a part of the IP Inclusive community focussing on supporting those with all types of disabilities, along with their carers and allies. IP Ability intends to provide support for those already working within the IP professions, in all roles and at all stages of their careers; encourage and assist stakeholders in making the IP professions accessible, inclusive and welcoming for disabled people and those in care-giving roles; and raise awareness and understanding of disability within the IP professions. Michael spoke at the CIPA Congress in September 2020 to highlight why this initiative to make the IP profession accessible is so important.
Michael has been working with the IP Ability committee to evaluate the accessibility of both the UK and European qualifying examinations for patent attorneys under the current examination policies, and the effectiveness of these policies in providing all candidates with fair access to assessment.
Candidates with disabilities may face additional and unfair barriers under examination conditions. Reasonable adjustments exist to diminish these unfair barriers as much as possible, whilst maintaining the integrity of an examination and ensuring that a candidate is not given an unfair advantage.
The committee is currently reviewing how the applicable reasonable adjustment policies are applied in practice and hopes to make this information available for future candidates so that they can be more aware of these policies and their application. The committee will also look carefully at any changes that could be recommended to the relevant exam bodies to ensure that all candidates have fair access to assessment.
Women in IP
We regularly attend Women in IP events such as webinars, seminars and coffee dates in order to add our voice to the debate surrounding the role and ambitions of female IP practitioners as well as the challenges that they may face in their day to day work and as they progress their careers. Women in IP seeks to support women already working within the IP profession and to encourage the next generation of female IP practitioners to join the profession and climb through its ranks. In February 2020 we attended the Women in IP event: "Be yourself, everyone else is taken": partner Rachel Bateman summarised the evening's discussion.
Mental Health First Aid
As part of our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion pledge to build trust and safe spaces throughout our organisation, we are proud to have implemented a mental health first aid scheme at the firm. We recognise that individual wellbeing, both physical and mental, can go through good and bad patches and this can have an impact on life both outside and inside work. We want to foster a culture in which our people feel able to talk openly to their supervisor and trust that they will be supported. Mental health first aiders provide an additional point of contact for us to talk about mental health wellbeing. Through Mental Health First Aid England, we have trained twelve partners and employees across the firm. This group has been given the knowledge and skills to spot the signs that someone is having a difficult time, to listen empathetically, and to signpost individuals to further resources that may be helpful. We see this as a proactive step in enabling each of us to bring our whole self to work.
On 03 November 2020 we participated in, and were sponsors of, the “Race & Ethnicity in Engineering” careers day, an event organised by EqualEngineers in partnership with the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers (AFBE-UK).
EqualEngineers connects inclusive employers with diverse talent in engineering and technology to increase social mobility within the engineering and technology profession. EqualEngineers specifically targets female; ethnic minority; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+); and disabled engineers, and other underrepresented groups in the profession. AFBE-UK promotes higher achievements in education and engineering particularly among people from black and minority ethnicity (BME) backgrounds.
D Young & Co patent attorneys Zöe Clyde-Watson and Bénédicte Moulin and technical assistants (trainee patent attorneys) David Hole and Hayden Miller took part in the day's activities. In the morning Zöe and Bénédicte attended an upbeat panel discussion, with other employers, and answered questions around what it is like to be a patent attorney as well as sharing the journey we are on to promote equality, diversity and inclusion in our firm and industry. The afternoon session was an opportunity for students to talk directly to our trainees and understand more about the role and the training.
We were delighted to have been part of this event and are looking forward to future events. We are always happy to talk, if you’d like to find out more from us please feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
Careers in Ideas
We have donated funds to the Careers In Ideas programme which aims to promote diversity and inclusion in the IP profession within schools, colleges and universities to provide greater access to information and opportunities.
STEM Awareness Activities
We are also involved in various events to promote diversity in science such as "Celebrating Women in Chemistry", an event at which Dr Zöe Clyde-Watson spoke at in 2019 to coincide with the UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science.