“Women have played an important role in IP from the dawn of this age,” says Joan Mill, Executive Vice President, EMEA Sales of CPA Global, in a new video interview with Ideas Matter. “We now have women in IP awards, we have women in IP conferences – that just gives an indication of how far we’ve come.”
Mill points to Katherine Blodgett, who invented and patented non-reflective glass in 1938, and Melitta Bentz, who invented and patented the coffee filter in 1908, as classic examples of women inventors that have had a significant place in the intellectual property arena.
A number of factors are now encouraging more women to be involved in developing and managing intellectual property, according to Mill. These include a network of other women in the industry, good job opportunities that did not exist in the past, and technology developments such as artificial intelligence and machine learning that make it exciting to be involved in the IP industry.
There is still some way to go in ensuring women an equal role in the IP sector, however. “We don’t talk about ‘women in Oscar awards’ – the Oscars are the Oscars.” says Mill. “Until we get to a stage where we can talk about IP awards and IP conferences as just that, there is a need to recognise and acknowledge the achievements of women who have helped to build up IP to what it is today.”
Her own journey into the IP sector came via her work in law and investment banking, and Mill encourages other women to explore roles in technology and intellectual property. “There’s no excuse for a young female to say, ‘I can’t fulfil that role’, because there are a lot of role models who are females,” she says. “There’s no excuse. Go for it!”
You can see Ideas Matters’ full video interview with CPA Global’s Joan Mill here. For further articles and information about women in intellectual property and other current IP topics, see CPA Global’s blogs here.