Chief Executive's


When I was asked to pen a few words reflecting on 2021 for the Annual Report, I had a difficult job remembering when the year started and what we had achieved. I am sure it must be the same for many of us, this sense of the pandemic blurring space and time. 2021 was a year full of challenges, not just those brought about by COVID-19 but also potentially serious challenges to the IP world as we know it, as the UK goes about finding its way in the world now it is no longer in the European Union.

Thanks to the great people who make CIPA tick, the staff and members who give freely of their time, 2021 was a year where business was as near to normal as we could have hoped for. Much of our work continued to be conducted from locations other than the office. Council and committees met virtually. Videoconferencing became the norm. I am now more familiar with my own face than at any other time in my life, and it is tiring. This means that, for me, our greatest achievement is that we maintained our morale and worked collectively in the interests of CIPA’s members.

This Annual Report touches on all of the things we have done for our members in 2021. It can only ever be a snapshot of our accomplishments and we should be very proud of the professional membership association we have. It can never be said often enough; we owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of our staff and all of our members who have pulled together to keep CIPA on track and delivering for its members.

It would be remiss of me not to pick out a few of my personal highlights. I will not forget the dawning realisation, when reading the EU – UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement between Christmas 2020 and the New Year, that the uncertainty in relation to business travel to the seats of the European Patent Office (EPO) would be early fallout from Brexit. It took many, many months of sensitive discussions with the EPO, leading civil servants in the UK, the UK’s representatives in Germany and the Netherlands, but we got there. Travel to the EPO is within the Schengen visa business waiver provisions and that was an important outcome for the profession.

Whilst far from complete, the work CIPA has done on international trade agreements to ensure there is little, if any, disruption has been immense. Mainly conducted in closed rooms (on Zoom, obviously) and under the cover of confidentiality agreements, we have not always been able to keep members informed of our work. I know, however, that CIPA’s Officers and senior team could not have done more to protect the interests of our members and the beneficiaries of the IP system. This work continues, as the UK forges new trade alliances and seeks to join existing agreements such as the Comprehensive and Progressive alliance for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and we remain ever vigilant and ready to act.

Last year, I spoke about 2020 being the hardest of times and needing to be resilient, supportive, agile and creative to get through it. 2021 was more of the same and 2022 looks no different. Thankfully, CIPA remains set well to thrive.

Download Annual Report 2021

In PDF Format

Shopping Basket

No products in the cart.

Skip to content