the last week we met with officials from the US Embassy in
Japan including a private meeting with Ambassador John
Roos, the Japan Patent
Office with a private session with Commissioner Fukano,
Japan High IP Court where a few of us had a session with
Chief Judge Iimura, and numerous bar associations. Each of
these meetings could take up a blog entry, but the meeting I
want to focus on is the Women in IP session.
For many years AIPLA has supported women in IP programs,
including hosting "Women in IP breakfasts" at the three major
AIPLA meetings, and the
Women in IP Law Committee holds networking dinners around
the US each year. But those are in the United States only, and
as a result of those successes the IP in Japan Committee
perceived a need to support women practicing IP law in Japan.
Last year, for the first time, a Women in IP Reception was held
in Japan. I was invited to attend this year’s
second such event as AIPLA President. While a lot of men attend
the breakfasts at the AIPLA meetings, no men attend the Japan
event unless invited, and I was honored they invited me.
The event was held in a meeting room at the Okura Hotel in
Tokyo and was well attended. While a few of us made
introductory remarks, the principal presentations were by two
speakers – women – who told their personal
stories of developing an IP practice. Unfortunately, each spoke
of immense hurdles and a great deal of personal sacrifice in
very moving and emotional ways.
As I mentioned in an
earlier post about the American Intellectual Property Law
Education Foundation (AIPLEF), AIPLA is extremely supportive of
diversity and women’s initiatives. Attending this
session in Japan, however, highlighted for me just how much
work there is to do – not only in other countries but
in the United States. Events such as the Women in IP breakfasts
at AIPLA meetings, the Women in IP Law Committee dinners, and
the Women in IP Japan session place a personal face on the many
issues and barriers that people must address in their careers.
I am proud of the work of AIPLA and AIPLEF, and their support
toward removing these hurdles. Keep up the great work.
Thanks for reading.