March 10

Women and intellectual property


Women and intellectual property


On the occasion of International Women's Rights Day, we return to the role of women in intellectual property. For many years, women creators have been sidelined, especially when it comes to acquiring rights. While disparities are now tending to decrease, gender equality is still not a reality.


Historic inequalities: women excluded from intellectual property law

States began to organise intellectual property law during the 19th century. It was at this time that the first industrial property rights (patents, trademarks) have been granted.

This period is marked by a male predominance. In fact, the trades that could lead to industrial property rights were essentially reserved for men. It was difficult for women to become engineers, scientists, composers or writers. Prohibitions were legal or simply social. For example, art schools closed their doors to women on the 19th of And it wasn't until 1972 that the Ecole Polytechnique became co-educational....

Intellectual property law has thus been strongly marked by these social prohibitions. It was also common for works by women to be broadcast under a pseudonym. Whether they were press cartoons, novels or inventions. Moreover, the acquisition of a patent or copyright by a woman was subject to the rules of matrimonial regimes. A woman could not freely dispose of her family name, which belonged to her father or husband. Similarly, she could not, without male authorization, receive income from her work.


The Evolution of Intellectual Property: Towards Gender Equality?

In the second half of the 20thth In the 20th century, thanks to the rights liberation movements, society's outlook changed. Women can (fortunately!) now become authors or inventors. But The World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) considers that "latent discrimination" persists..

This analysis is based in particular on statistical data: "with regard to patent filings, there is a significant gap between the number of women and men filing applications; women are conspicuous by their absence in all areas of the patent system. "The figures are edifying. For example, "patent applications naming a female inventor represent only 4% of applications in German-speaking countries, 10% of applications in the United States. "WIPO even points out that "women scientists and engineers are half as likely as men to obtain a patent for their work. »

However, the Office deplores a lack of data, particularly in other areas of intellectual property (trademarks, copyright, etc.). Indeedthe vast majority of studies on gender disparities in intellectual propertys, have focused on the patent system. But it is believed that women working in a creative field of copyright (publishing, film production or music recording) are no better off.


Less discrimination among legal practitioners

Women are still under-represented in the practice of intellectual property rights. Fortunately, the gap is narrowing. In France, in the sector of industrial property attorneys (CPI), parity is not very far away: there are 46% of women ICC in 2020 (compared to 43% 10 years ago).

However, as in other legal professions, there are salary disparities and a lack of women in positions of responsibility. In traditional law firms, there is an overwhelming majority of male partners.

Fortunately, there are small, mostly female ICC firms emerging. This is the case of our women's 100% team. and determined to accompany you in all your endeavours.


March 8, copyright, equality, women, intellectual property, intellectual property rights

You may also like