Being CIPA President for the second year of the pandemic meant that, like last year, you had a virtual President! This was frustrating but, by the end of the year, I was hugely reassured by the work that CIPA had done.

It was frustrating in that CIPA’s usual schedule of regional meetings did not take place and I couldn’t meet fellow members and chat about the issues that had been concerning them. But it was reassuring in that I was able to see at first hand the important role that CIPA’s domestic and international networks played in tackling the big issues facing the profession across the year – and to play my part as President.

There was a particular focus in the first half of the year as we dealt with the effects of the end of the Brexit transition period and the consequences for the profession of the UK’s Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU.

I was proud to represent members’ interest and protect and promote the profession internationally during remote meetings and webinars with the European Patent Office (EPO), the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), the European Association of National IP Attorneys (ANIPA) and with a range of other international stakeholders, including colleagues in the USA, Japan and Korea.

The pandemic and its effects have lasted longer than many of us initially expected and it has taken its toll on the nation’s collective mental health. I made it my priority as President to do everything that I could to both support and promote mental health initiatives in IP.

I began 2021 by joining the advisory board of Jonathan’s Voice. You will hopefully have seen their most recent guide that they have launched, the Senior Leaders Guide – this is a good read and really enlightening, particularly in relation to the impact that our actions have as senior leaders on those under our care.

I am a big supporter of diversity and inclusion and so was keen to support CIPA’s D&I work and to do all I could to ensure that both CIPA and the profession remained diverse and inclusive.

I was also proud to be leading CIPA as it updated its brand. I know that the staff team worked very hard to create a new website and public profile that reflected the excellence of the profession. I hope that you were as impressed with the result as I was.

One of the most important pieces of work for CIPA during the year was to ensure that the UK Government was fully aware of the continuing importance to both the profession and the wider economy of membership of the European Patent Convention as it relates to the negotiation of international trade agreements. It is clear, from the many public statements on this issue, that our message has been heard and fully understood. Again, I was proud to be involved.

So I can confirm that being a virtual President has been as busy as being a President in-person!

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