Each year, on April 26, World Intellectual Property Day is celebrated in a continued effort to raise awareness and understanding of the value IP offers. This year’s focus is ‘Women in IP: Accelerating innovation and creativity’, intended to highlight the incredible impact women are making in the innovation space and encourage women into the IP sector and to benefit from IP as their presence remains disproportionate. To celebrate the occasion, we asked our Editorial Board their thoughts:
“World IP Organization statistics show that women inventors are still a small minority on patent applications. The proportion is increasing slowly, so more effort should be taken now to fulfil the potential of budding female inventors. It is important to support womens’ innovation by encouraging more participation in science and engineering, and funding those individuals once they are trained. Those of us already in the workforce can create space for others to grow.”
Noel Courage, Partner at Bereskin & Parr, The Patent Lawyer Editorial Board Member.
“World IP Day is celebrated annually on April 26 to raise awareness about the critical role that IP plays in promoting innovation and creativity. This year’s theme, ‘Women and IP: Accelerating Innovation and Creativity,’ highlights the contributions that women have made to the field of IP and the need for greater support and opportunities to ensure that women can succeed in this important field.
As we celebrate World IP Day 2023, let us recognize the important contributions that women have made to the field of IP and commit ourselves to creating a more inclusive and supportive industry. By empowering and supporting women in IP, we can drive greater innovation, creativity, and economic growth for everyone.”
Mark Bloom, Patent Agent and Senior Consultant, The Patent Lawyer Editorial Board Member.
“The gender gap is a key issue in Japan, and unfortunately, in the field of IP this is no exception. In Japan, the proportion of female inventors named in PCT applications is low, at around 10%. By technical field, female inventors are disproportionately represented in the life sciences, and increasing the number in other fields is also a challenge. Various studies have indicated that an increase in the number of female researchers and inventors would promote innovation and development in Japan. Therefore dramatic changes are desired and various measures are being taken.”
Osamu Yamamoto, Patent Attorney at YUASA and HARA, The Patent Lawyer Editorial Board Member.
“World IP Day 2023 celebrates the ground-breaking work of women inventors, creators and entrepreneurs, whilst acknowledging some of the challenges that many women must overcome to bring their innovations to fruition.
There is perhaps no better way to exemplify this than by looking at the emergence of the FemTech market. FemTech is devoted to products and services aimed at women’s health. Progress in this space has been driven largely by women demanding better solutions designed to address their unique healthcare needs.
World IP Day 2023 will help to shine the spotlight on the importance of IP rights which are crucial to continuing growth and investment in the FemTech space. Securing valuable IP rights will enable entrepreneurs to protect their inventions, promote their brand and, if commercialized and exploited properly, generate revenue and further investment.
FemTech solutions have the potential to empower women across the globe, make healthcare more accessible, affordable, and effective, and by next year’s World IP Day, further improve women’s lives for the better! “
Sarah Taylor, Senior Practice Development Lawyer for Pinsent Masons LLP, The Patent Lawyer Editorial Board Member.
“Behind every great man there stands a great woman
In 1886, Carl Benz obtained his famous patent on a motor car. Two years later, not unlike electric cars in recent times, motor cars were still considered as unreliable toys that would never make it beyond the city limits. To prove the critics wrong, on August 5, 1888, his wife Bertha Benz, without the knowledge of her husband, undertook her now legendary ride of 105 kilometers in a motor car from Mannheim, her city of residence, to Pforzheim, where her mother lived. She arrived after about 12 hours, which was about as fast as a horse-drawn carriage, and returned three days later. In consequence, the company of her husband took off, the successor of which is today’s Mercedes-Benz Group.
People who know the area are aware that she took quite a risk. In order to go to Pforzheim, you have to cross the first ridges of the Black Forest. A trip south in the Rhine Valley would have been a much safer bet. I tend to believe that Bertha Benz was both bold and clever. If the expedition had failed, it would have just been a family trip. As it turned out, it was the much needed proof of concept that paved the path of success of the motor vehicle. There were other, not less serious problems during her trip, which Bertha Benz mastered with the practical mind she had. Fuel ran out – a local pharmacy could help. A blocked fuel pipe was cleaned with a hatpin and a broken ignition was mended with a garter. Returning from the ride she told her husband that his cars should have a third gear, which was implemented in consequence, and rumor has it that she came up with the idea that brakes should be cushioned, which is the concept of a break pad.
What can be learned from this story? In order to establish a new technology, it is not sufficient to have IP. You have to be passionate about the technology, be bold and rely on your wits.”
Stefan Schohe, Partner at Boehmert & Boehmert, The Patent Lawyer Editorial Board Member.