Women, IP law and the panel-gender quota count

It started with a bit of typical Internet snark between lawyer-mindfulness guru Jeena Cho and your snarky blogger:

Go figure:  It ended up being a very interesting discussion, if not entirely pleasant as various wise guys and gals with different ways of, um, engaging weaved in and out.  You can read it yourself, though be careful; it branched out in a couple of different threads.

One of the things I was trying to get at was that, at least in the trademark (and copyright) practice, I have a hard time believing women are at any kind of disadvantage in the year 2017.  Indeed, my observation is that female attorneys are extremely well represented, if not dominant, in U.S. trademark law and trademark institutions and leadership in the U.S.

I even made these preposterous graphics based on that popular popularity contest, the WTR 1000, to “show” this in a statistically meaningless, but not necessarily irrelevant (because we are to no small extent talking about perception) way:

OK, fine. Consider this the beginning of the inquiry.

Anyway, it ended off with this challenge:


(That should have been “life,” not “lube.”  Blame Swype.)  I accepted Jeena’s challenge but modified it just so I could make some headway (it would be an impossible project for me otherwise):  I drilled down to the last ten conference panels on which I myself have presented on topics relating to my practice, and came up with this.

Bottom line: Out of ten panels, only one — a two-person presentation that was more like a tandem than a panel — included no women.  And that one was organized by the Trademark and Unfair Trade Practices Committee of the New York City Bar Association. That committee, though I have been blackballed from membership in it for the last few years — go figure; they still asked me to do this presentation — I can confidently tell you is no bastion of male supremacy.  Indeed everyone involved in inviting me to participate in that event and coordinating it was a female.

In fact, I can’t remember the last time that committee has been chaired by a male, thinking back over the last 20 years.

Go figure.

Ron Coleman

I write this blog.

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