Each year on the 26th of April, the world celebrates World Intellectual Property Day with the aim of raising awareness on intellectual property and its contribution to promoting innovation and creativity. As the world grapples with multiple crises, the theme for 2023 “Women and IP: Accelerating innovation and creativity” is both timely and fitting. Drawing attention to the “can do” attitude of women inventors, creators and entrepreneurs around the world and their ground-breaking work, it also emphasises that the future of IP must belong to everyone.
As recently as 2021, WIPO reported that women inventors accounted for only 16.5% of international patent applications, despite a 6% increase during the last decade1. This highlights a significant gender gap in the realm of IP with WIPO projecting that at the current rate, parity may only be achieved in 2053. Why do we need more women in the field of IP? The existence of an IP gender gap signifies missed opportunities to tackle global issues and boost economic development, thus underutilising the potential of women’s innovative and creative abilities.
Recognising that we cannot achieve inclusive innovation that reaches out to all communities, genders, and consumer groups, unless they are equally driven by women, JKR is actively working to close the gender gap in this historically male-dominated field by acknowledging the obstacles that women often encounter in this space and is committed to addressing and overcoming these challenges.
To promote innovation and cultivate a more comprehensive IP culture, JKR advocates for diverse perspectives and ideas. By doing so, the organisation believes it can empower and motivate women in the IP field, providing them with the necessary resources and opportunities to succeed.
JKR’s commitment to empowering and motivating women in the IP field through supportive and inclusive organisational initiatives is a significant step towards creating a more equitable and diverse world of innovation and creativity. This, in turn, will not only benefit women but also the collective ability to develop cutting-edge technologies and solutions that can transform communities and bolster economic resilience in these challenging times.
At JKR, Ovinee Wadasinghe oversees the IP management and information security processes, while recommending avenues for commercialising JKR technologies. As the Assistant Manager for Intellectual Property and Business Development with a background in Chemical and Process Engineering, she creates a platform conducive towards knowledge transfer between internal and external stakeholders and drives the commercialisation and tech transfer of R&D projects.
As Ovinee puts it, “At JKR we are actively working to create a more inclusive environment for our diverse team members, that fosters innovation and creativity. In recognising and supporting the important role that women at JKR play in developing and commercialising IP, we ensure that they have the resources and opportunities they need to thrive. By working together, we can accelerate innovation and creativity, driving progress and creating a brighter future for all.”
JKR’s role aligns with the idea that greater gender diversity in the IP industry leads to a wider range of experiences, skills, and perspectives that can be utilised to develop more effective strategies for protecting and monetising intellectual property. JKR’s involvement also contributes to a shift towards a more inclusive and diverse workplace culture, leading to better outcomes for businesses and industries as a whole. As more women become involved in the field of IP, society will ultimately benefit from a more diverse and representative group of voices that contribute to the development of new products and technologies that improve our lives.