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ACID Supports World IP Day 2023 – Women and IP: Accelerating Innovation and Creativity

Celebrate World IP Day and sign the ACID IP Charter supporting respect, ethics and compliance now.

This year’s World IP Day focuses on women’s role in intellectual property (IP). It is a time to celebrate women in design and find ways to grow gender parity in this field, by empowering women to strengthen their knowledge of, and access to the wider IP ecosystem.

ACID celebrated International Women’s Day by interviewing a selection of inspiring women in the design industry. They included Minnie Moll, CEO of the Design Council; Rachael Taylor, owner of Rachael Taylor Designs & Make It In Design; Charlotte Raffo, founder of The Monkey Puzzle Tree; and Kelly Hudson, ACID legal affiliate & Director at McDaniels Law. All these successful women gave us invaluable insights and highlighted the issues women face in design, and, in a larger sense, in business.

These strong, successful, and independent female leads in creative industries have all experienced difficulties as women in business. For example, needing to prove themselves more than their male counterparts, not being considered a serious person in busness, not having enough representation or available showcasing platforms, and often also having to spread themselves too thin, especially in conjunction with the demands of family life. The consensus was overwhelmingly that there needs to be more women in higher and visible positions, supporting other women into these roles and creating strong role models for women to aspire towards. 

Charlotte Raffo, founder of The Monkey Puzzle Tree, said, “The business world is very male dominated. It’s easy to feel stereotyped as a female with a creative business, that it’s somehow a less serious proposition than a business started by a male entrepreneur, or to feel that it’s necessary to behave like a man to be successful. Personally, I insist on running my business on my own terms and not conforming to anyone else’s ideas of running a business.”

Charlotte Raffo, founder of The Monkey Puzzle Tree

Minnie Moll, CEO of The Design Council, said, “Design shapes the world we live in, so we must strive for diversity and inclusivity to reflect the wonderfully diverse world we are designing for. If there are no positive role models in the leadership of organisations, women are not going to aspire to be in those roles. We need to work harder to get under the surface of the things that are getting in the way. A good starting point is asking women directly.”

Minnie Moll, CEO of The Design Council

Rachael Taylor, owner of Rachael Taylor Designs and co-founder of Make It In Design, says, I would love to see more female CEOs paving the way. It’s all about getting the example out there and in front of women. To see more women and female founded companies, instead of being shy about their success, really embracing their achievements, and sharing with their audiences that these things are possible. It’s not about being the competition but being the example that these things can happen, and they can show you there is a path to success. Having more authentic and honest female voices can show that success can be for everyone.

Rachael Taylor, founder of Rachael Taylor Designs & Co-founder of Make It In Design

Kelly Hudson, Director of McDaniels Law and ACID legal affiliate, said, “There are huge challenges. Although there is without doubt a better equality in the industry than there has been in the past, we are still nowhere near a position of actual equality and the industry is still male dominated at the top. There is still an inherent sexism within the industry and a bias towards men. I think there is a gradual change to redress the imbalance but ultimately it is not just the design industry that needs to change but rather the change needs to occur in society as a whole. There needs to be a societal shift to take some of this emphasis off women and encourage the development of careers alongside motherhood.”

Kelly Hudson, Director at McDaniels Law & ACID legal affiliate

The World IP Organisation has reported on encouraging developments in areas of design supporting women. The IP community and organisations globally are promoting diversity through protocols enhancing women’s ability to access and protect their IP rights. Data shows that a large proportion of start-ups, lone, and micro creative businesses are female owned. In India, 80% fee reduction is being offered to start-ups so they can better protect their IP rights. The United States is reducing their fees for small and micro businesses. There are Pro Bono programmes being rolled out to support lone and micro creative businesses to receive legal  IP support. Mexico and the Philippines are supporting women in skills training, and IP protection to generate a wider breadth of innovation.

The World IP Organisation says, “While the persisting gender gap in IP and innovation may seem an unfathomable problem, women can play a key role in narrowing the gap by having faith in their abilities, staying focused on their aspirations, and most importantly, taking action! Empowerment comes from within. No one can give you power if you are not actively involved in the process.”

You can read more on what the World IP Organisation is doing to support women in IP Together We Can: Approaches to Empowering Women in IP   

Dids Macdonald OBE., CEO of ACID, said, “When I entered the world of IP many years ago, it was a very different space where there were few female voices. Fortunately, the tide is turning but not quickly enough. For a truly innovative society to grow, we need complete diversity of perspectives and experiences to flourish. The amount of women are rising in areas of the creative industries, largely as start-ups, lone, and micro business owners. Many of these creative businesses rely on Unregistered Design rights, which are notoriously more difficult to protect by law. So it is imperative that women in these areas have the knowledge, tools, and support to strengthen and uphold their IP rights.”

Everyone benefits from a better understanding of IP. However, as it is World IP Day, the excellent WIPO theme of ‘Women and IP: Accelerating innovation and creativity’, there is an opportunity to shine a light on female pioneers and entrepreneurs around changing the way we work for the better. WIPO and other policy-led bodies have identified there is a worrying gender gap issue and inequality of participation in relation to women and men as regards accessing the ‘IP ecosystem’. ACID is proud to support and showcase hundreds of women-owned and led creative businesses through its work and has done so for the last quarter of a Century!

In our continued efforts to draw attention to the disparity of IP rights and who can seek justice for infringements, ACID are re-launching the ACID IP Charter as free to sign. We are calling on all designers, all businesses, and all people who believe in respect, ethics, and compliance in design. You will receive the ACID IP Charter logo upon signing, which enables you to state openly that you are ethically aligned with protecting original design and upholding the IP rights of designers. This charter enables us to have a wide reaching arm of support for our campaigns and strengthens our advocacies towards equality in IP for all!

If you would like to sign the ACID IP Charter, you can do so  Sign the ACID IP Charter Now   

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