DIVERSITY CHAMPIONS IN IP
Beacons of light
In our second-ever WIPR Diversity Champions list, we celebrate those who have worked tirelessly to create a brighter future for all aspiring IP practitioners.
Below are some of the leading lights in the IP sector who have been persistent and indomitable in their efforts to make the profession more inclusive.
Chief D&I Officer, Mewburn Ellis (UK)
Robert Andrews is Mewburn Ellis’ chief inclusion and diversity officer, responsible for leading the firm’s inclusion and diversity strategy and ensuring this remains a key focus for the firm. Andrews is a signatory to the IP Inclusive senior leader’s pledge. He is part of the firm’s diversity and inclusion (D&I) collaboration group, which has been instrumental in developing and launching the D&I strategy.
Key objectives include enhancing the skill set of the firm’s leadership group through an extended series of workshops and exercises, as well as nurturing an open and inclusive culture with an array of activities and initiatives.
Counsel, Tapestry (US)
Karla Aspiras serves as counsel for Tapestry, the parent company of the Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman brands. She is responsible for global anti-counterfeiting efforts, including the brand protection strategy and managing civil anti-counterfeiting litigation. Aspiras is also responsible for the global IP portfolio of the brands. She is passionate about D&I and is part of Tapestry’s Inclusion Council, supporting efforts to be a more inclusive and diverse work environment.
The firm has partnered with the Black in Fashion Council, and was named Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality by the Human Rights Campaign in 2021. Aspiras also champions sustainability initiatives.
Founder and managing partner, Barlaw (Peru)
Adriana Barrera is founder and managing partner of Barlaw, the first firm led by women in Peru and with a high percentage of women lawyers in its staff. Barrera has served as president of the Intellectual Property Commission of the American Chamber of Commerce in Peru.
She has spoken at many D&I events, including Women in the Profession Peru’s leadership meeting and the Chamber of Commerce of La Libertad’s virtual event, ‘Women leaders for an equal future in the world of COVID-19’.
Owner/founding partner, Boisineau Law (US)
In 2018, Lynne Boisineau founded Boisineau Law, an entirely woman-owned business. Her support team consists of women who identify as LGBTQ+, as well as being 50% Latina. She was a past co-chair of the Orange County Intellectual Property Association’s Women in IP Committee. Boisineau also provides pro bono legal counsel to civil rights organisation Lambda Legal on IP matters and takes on pro bono or businesses owned by women of colour in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
At her prior firm, Boisineau was an active member and subcommittee leader of the gender diversity and LGBTQ+ diversity committees.
Partner, Adams & Adams (South Africa)
Godfrey Budeli is a partner in Adams & Adams’ trademark and copyright litigation section, and is head of anti-counterfeiting. Budeli served on the firm’s management committee as the transformation, D&I representative for a number of years. He travels to local universities to market the firm and focuses on recruiting people of colour.
As part of an International Trademark Association (INTA) initiative, he reaches out to universities to build awareness of IP.
Head of trademarks, Daniel Law (Brazil)
Isabella Cardozo is Daniel Law’s head of trademarks and leads the firm’s D&I programme. She started at Daniel Law as an intern and became a partner in 2005. She has been instrumental in creating and implementing the firm’s long-term D&I policies and initiatives and has created a 100% female management team within her trademarks department.
Her practice focuses primarily on managing large portfolios and developing corporate strategies for IP development and protection. She acts on behalf of national and international clients before Brazil’s National Institute of Industrial Property.
Founding partner, Chang Tsi & Partners (China)
Spring Chang is a founding partner at Chang Tsi & Partners and is based in the firm’s Beijing office. She has more than two decades of experience as an attorney and focuses her practice on patents, trademarks, copyright, and domain names. As a female lawyer with an ethnic minority background, Chang knows the difficulties of entering the legal industry.
Along with the management team, Chang has pledged to create a diverse and inclusive working environment where every employee feels included and valued. More than 70% of the managers and 75% of the overall employees of Chang Tsi & Partners are women.
Partner, Haynes Boone (US)
Tom Chen is a member of Haynes Boone’s executive committee and a partner in the firm’s IP group. Chen leads the firm’s management of patent matters from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies. He is co-chair of Haynes and Boone’s attorney D&I committee.
He is also a member of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and sits on the advisory board for the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession and the Asian Law Alliance.
Senior patent attorney, Vectura (UK)
Chris Clarke is a senior patent attorney at Vectura and has worked at the pharmaceutical company for nine years. Prior to joining Vectura, Clarke worked for nearly 15 years at Unilever. Alongside AA Thornton partner Marianne Privett, Clarke co-leads IP Ability, the IP Inclusive community for disabled people, carers and their allies working within the IP professions. He is a carer for his younger son, who has a learning disability, similar to Prader-Willi syndrome.
Through his work with IP Ability, he aims to provide a supportive and informative network focusing on issues relating to disability, neurodiversity and health conditions of all kinds, be they mental or physical, visible or invisible, permanent or temporary, sudden onset or progressive.
Managing partner, Dumont (Mexico)
Laura Collada has more than 30 years’ experience in IP and is managing partner at Dumont, where she has worked since 2000. She is a member of INTA, Marques, AIPPI and ECTA and advocates for women’s equality by seeking out female candidates. She has spoken about glass-ceiling issues at various events.
Collada is actively involved in all processes at Dumont to ensure that inclusivity exists in all aspects of the firm. Dumont is working towards being certified on its D&I work.
Joana de Mattos Siqueira
Partner, Montaury Pimenta Machado & Vieira de Mello (Brazil)
Joana de Mattos Siqueira serves as a partner and part of Montaury’s trademark team. She leads the firm’s D&I committee as well as a mentorship programme, ‘Incluir Direito’, which has led to the implementation of Montaury 360º, a scheme that aims to provide Black students an internship in all departments of the firm. Her other work in diversity includes roles as the national delegate and secretary of ASIPI’s D&I committee, co-chair of INTA’s Brands for a Better Society Committee and chair of the Brazilian Association of Intellectual Property’s D&I committee. De Mattos Siqueira is also a member of WIPLA (Women’s Intellectual Property Lawyers Association), and participates in various events promoting women in IP.
Partner, Ojam Bullrich Flanzbaum (Argentina)
As a partner at Ojam Bullrich Flanzbaum, Raquel Flanzbaum has extensive experience in IP prosecution and litigation. She manages clients’ trademark portfolios across Argentina and Latin America. As a member of the firm’s human resources committee, she has worked to improve the internal policies, including flexible maternity and paternity leave and blind hiring.
The firm has been ranked in second place by Great Place to Work for Women 2022, in the SME category in Argentina. Flanzbaum is a member of the academic subcommittee of the Argentine Association of Industrial Property Agents.
Partner, Noerr (Spain)
Michael Hawkins is a partner in the IP team at Noerr, with experience in trademark and design law and unfair competition. He has served on INTA’s board of directors and has been awarded INTA’s volunteer service award. Hawkins co-chaired INTA’s 2021 Presidential Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, aimed at making the IP profession more diverse and putting forward best practices.
An advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, he is also a member of the Law Society of England and Wales’ IP Committee and in that capacity has been involved in activities to make the UK’s IP professions more diverse.
Guylène Kiesel Le Cosquer
Managing partner, Plasseraud IP (France)
Guylène Kiesel Le Cosquer is a managing partner at Plasseraud IP, where she leads the trademarks and designs practice. She became the first woman trademark attorney to be made partner in one of France’s top IP firms. The firm hosts an annual meeting of AIPLA’s Women in IP Law Committee and is a member of the French Association of Diversity Managers. Plasseraud IP Group scored 88 out of 100 in France’s Gender Equity Index.
Partner, Cohausz & Florack (Germany)
Natalie Kirchhofer is partner at Cohausz & Florack and a European and German patent attorney. She is an expert in the fields of biochemistry, pharmaceuticals and life sciences and advises German and international chemical and pharmaceutical companies and biotech start-ups on IP rights. She is involved in a mentoring programme for women in IP, and nurtures young professionals by participating as a mentor, coach, and judge in mock patent trials. In 2022 she helped co-found the LGBTIQ+ legal and IP network Proud in IP in Germany.
She is also an active member of Women in IP, and supports female, LGBTQ+ or minority professionals as a role-model and mentor and by raising awareness for the importance of diversity in the workplace.
Brand protection manager, Corsearch (US)
Barbara Leitao-Johnson joined Corsearch as brand protection client manager in March 2022, after almost ten years working with IP in Brazil and over a year at the IP protection team of Meta in the US. Since she became an attorney in Brazil, she has volunteered to help in domestic violence cases for women in need and is a member of various committees on the women in IP topic.
Also, since emigrating to the US, she plans to advocate for more spaces (and platforms) for diversity within IP in the US, in particular for the Hispanic community.
Managing consultant, MYIP Legal Studio (Kenya)
Liz Lenjo is the founder and managing consultant of MYIP Legal Studio, specialising in IP, entertainment, media, and fashion law. She has recently been appointed the chairperson for Kenya's Copyright Tribunal, the specialised court constituted under the Copyright Act and is chairperson of the Intellectual Property Technical Committee at the Kenya Bureau of Standards. Lenjo participates in mentoring programmes including the JIIPCC Mentorship and Internship Programme, which trains hundreds of students, start-ups and young professionals across Africa, Africa Fashion Law, and Bias in African Fashion.
Lenjo has also served as a WIPO Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions (National) consultant in Kenya. She is a member of INTA and serves on its Global Advisory Council Africa.
Partner, Bhering Advogados (Brazil)
Isabel Milman is a partner in Bhering Advogados’ litigation department. She has more than 15 years of experience in litigating on behalf of medium and large Brazilian and foreign companies. Her practice covers IP litigation including infringement and nullity lawsuits involving trademarks, patents and industrial designs, as well as disputes related to software and copyright.
Due to her leadership and deep knowledge of IP litigation, Milman has been recognised by several international publications, and she represents a prominent female voice in the IP field, leading the path for other female lawyers on her team. She was named in WIPR’s Influential Women in IP in 2021.
Senior partner, Jackson, Etti & Edu (Africa)
Uwa Ohiku is a senior partner at Jackson, Etti & Edu. She led the IP practice for 25 years before taking on the role of senior partner in March 2021. Ohiku is the first female senior partner and was the only female partner at the inception of the firm in 1996. She also chairs the firm’s executive committee.
Ohiku was previously responsible for human resources and worked on the firm’s first HR manual, in collaboration with a retired HR director of a multinational corporation, ensuring that the document met international best practices in terms of D&I.
CEO and managing director, Pearce IP (Australia)
Naomi Pearce is a patent lawyer, patent attorney and trademark attorney, with more than 24 years’ experience supporting clients in the pharmaceutical sector. Pearce founded Pearce IP in 2017 as a virtual firm, in which staff work remotely. Pearce IP is committed to fostering a positive, respectful, diverse and inclusive work environment where differences are respected and there are equal opportunities for all.
The firm celebrates its diverse workforce which includes more than 15% of senior management with a disability and 33% of the team from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. Pearce IP is a female led firm; 100% of the firm’s executives and business unit heads are women.
Partner, Licks Attorneys (Brazil)
Prior to joining Licks Attorneys, Liliane Roriz served for more than 20 years as a federal district court judge and an appellate judge in the Federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Brazil. After her retirement, Roriz joined Licks as partner, working with IP litigation and regulatory law, in addition to being a member of the firm’s D&I committee. This year, she was shortlisted for Women in Business Law Awards 2022—Americas. In 2019, Licks Attorneys held an event for women in IP with prominent speakers from the field, where Roriz presented data on the participation of women in Brazil’s courts, which was featured in the press.
Roriz’s achievements are a statement on her inspiring trailblazing for young law professionals, encouraging D&I.
Senior associate, solicitor and trademark attorney, CMS (UK)
Kelly Saliger is a dual qualified solicitor and chartered trademark attorney at CMS. She is vice president of the Chartered Institute of Trademark Attorneys and leads its education committee. One way in which she and the committee are ensuring opportunity, regardless of background, is by publicising and supporting universities with their entry programmes and vetting.
Saliger is committed to ensuring social-economic diversity in the trademark world and supports new entrants to the field by way of mentoring.
Chair, Finnegan (US)
Anand Sharma became firm-wide managing partner of Finnegan and chair in 2022 and is the first person of colour to hold both roles. He focuses his practice on patent law, from litigation to managing patent portfolios for several multi-billion dollar companies to strategic client counselling. He served as the first chair of Finnegan’s D&I committee for five years. Under Anand’s leadership, Finnegan partnered with Howard University to teach patent law and partnered with Microsoft in its work with the Hispanic National Bar Association.
Anand was an integral part of establishing the Finnegan IP University, a five-week virtual programme that introduces diverse undergraduate and graduate students to career opportunities in IP.
Partner and patent attorney, HGF (UK)
With more than 25 years of experience in the patent field, Vanessa Stainthorpe currently serves as partner and head of HGF’s medical devices team. In August 2020, Stainthorpe was elected to HGF’s board and now serves as a board sponsor for D&I. Stainthorpe leads the firm’s D&I focus group and has been a member of IP Inclusive since its inception.
She leads IP Inclusive’s North of England network and was appointed to the initiative’s advisory board in 2021.
Founder, Stobbs IP (UK)
Julius Stobbs founded Stobbs IP in 2013. Stobbs provides advice on the management and organisation of IP portfolios, trademark and domain name policies, and IP strategies. Befor founding Stobbs, he was head of trademarks at Ipulse and a partner at a European firm for seven years. Stobbs has fostered an inclusive environment at his firm, where “people feel safe in being themselves and are valued whatever their background, culture, sex, religion, or views”.
In leadership and management roles, 63% of the team are female (79% overall), and across the firm, 66% of the team attended a state-run or state-funded school, 56% come from a family where their parents did not attend university and 21% are from an ethnic minority background.
Founding partner, LexOrbis (India)
Manisha Singh is the founding partner of LexOrbis. She has played an important role in advising Indian policy and lawmakers on global standards associated with IP administrative and enforcement systems. In addition to leading a growing firm of more than 250 personnel, Singh works with Haath ka Bana (Made By Hand), a social enterprise that promotes the traditional folk art and crafts of India. Singh is a diversity advocate and has put policies in place to support the needs of different working groups at the firm.
LexOrbis employs about 60% of women professionals and staff out of which a substantial percentage are operating at the top levels.
Director General, World Intellectual Property Organization
Daren Tang, the former head of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), now leads the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Tang is the first Singaporean to lead a UN agency, and WIPO’s first director general from Asia. At the time of his appointment, Tang prioritised the need to build an “inclusive, balanced, vibrant, and forward-looking global IP ecosystem” and has appointed WIPO’s first ever gender diversity champion.
Partner, Mansur Murad (Brazil)
Pedro Vilhena is a partner at Mansur Murad, where he focuses on trademark prosecution, litigation and data protection. He is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community and regularly discusses inequality, diversity, and inclusion at the firm, while leading the litigation, trademarks and digital law department. At the Brazilian IP Association, Vilhena serves as one of the coordinators of the D&I committee.
He has been managing an amateur volleyball team, composed mainly of members of the LGBTQ+ community who felt unsafe playing in non-inclusive teams, for nearly five years.
Chief legal officer, Uber (US)
Tony West is senior vice president, chief legal officer, and corporate secretary at Uber. He leads a global team of more than 600 people in the company’s legal, compliance and ethics, and security functions. Prior to his role at Uber, West was executive vice president of public, policy and government affairs, and general counsel of PepsiCo. He was twice confirmed by the US Senate to serve as a senior official in the Obama administration.
West has driven Uber’s preferred counsel programme, placing diversity as a top performance metric used to evaluate outside counsel.
Founder and principal, Winterfeldt IP Group (US)
Brian Winterfeldt is the founder and principal of Winterfeldt IP Group. He has practised trademark and Internet law for nearly 20 years, and has particular experience in the creation of global trademark and branding strategies. Winterfeldt is serving a three-year term on INTA’s board of directors and on the Trademark Public Advisory Committee for the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Winterfeldt regularly participates in diversity-related legal organisations including the Minority Corporate Counsel Association and the LGBTQ+ Bar. He is a director at The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention provider for LGBTQ+ and ‘questioning youth’ in the US.
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