Today, April 26th, is World Intellectual Property Day, a WIPO-led initiative to encourage us to learn about the role intellectual property rights play in driving creativity, innovation and change in everyday life.

This year, World IP Day focuses on celebrating the role women have played in this drive for change and innovation, as well as their courage and curiosity in doing so. In honour of this, leading IP firm HGF interviewed female members of their team and asked them to talk about the women who inspire them in their IP careers and wider day to day lives and why…


Rosalind Franklin

I watched the 1987 film “Life Story” as a teenager dramatizing the story of the discovery of DNA structure and Rosalind’s part in it. Despite apparent prejudice against her she was determined to fill in her piece of the jigsaw and was instrumental in the discovery. She inspired me to have confidence in following my passion regardless of the obstacles life presents.

Dr Susan Keston Patent Director at HGF


Professor Dame Athene Donald

I am inspired by Professor Dame Athene Donald, DBE, FRS, and Master of Churchill College, Cambridge, both professionally and personally. As well as being a pioneer in the field of biophysics and soft matter through her research into protein aggregation, Professor Donald has shown me the importance of championing women in STEM, being named a L’Oreal/Unesco Laureate for Women in Science. Professor Donald actively engages in making science and research accessible to the public, demonstrating how rewarding it can be to encourage people, particularly women and girls, to get involved in science.

Fiona Christie Trainee Patent Attorney at HGF


Emma Walmsley

We are often faced with headlines in the media questioning why there aren’t more women at the top of corporations and how we can encourage women to enter into careers in STEM.  That’s why I was particularly encouraged and inspired to learn of the appointment of Emma Walmsley as the first female CEO of global drug maker GSK and one of the most powerful women in the industry.  With dedication and the ambition to succeed, we as women should not be held back by the constraints of the present, but think how can we strive to change the future.  I look forward to seeing many women following in Emma’s footsteps and reaching the top of global corporations in the years to come.

Diana Jones European Patent Attorney at HGF


Jane Austen

Jane Austen was an English novelist, most famous for her novel Pride and Prejudice, where she explored and critiqued the use of marriage by women in the 18/19th century to secure a good social and economic standing. I’m a hopeless romantic, so whilst that is partly why I enjoy her novels, I also find it inspirational that in a time when women struggled to have a voice and less than half the women in England could read and write, she was able to be heard through her literary works (albeit anonymously!). She explores the decisions and choices involved in being a woman in 18th century, including politics, money, love, morals, marriage, social standing. All of which are still very relevant today. Her novels are the basis and inspiration for many other novels and helped to shape the literary world we now live in.

Rebecca Grant Trainee Trade Mark Attorney at HGF


Marie Curie

Marie Curie was one of the leading Physicists on radioactivity. Her research is still the building blocks of today’s use of radioactivity for cancer treatment. Although having an integral part in the work for which a Nobel prize was awarded, her name was originally left off the list. Undeterred, Marie continued to devote her life to the important research that saves countless lives 150 years on. She is a remarkable example of perseverance in the face of prejudice and aided the change in people’s attitudes to the input that women can have in the science community. This is what makes her such an inspiration to me.

Laura Mannering Trainee Patent Attorney at HGF


Emma Watson

I have been inspired by Emma Watson’s commitment to sourcing sustainable and ecologically friendly cosmetics and clothing.  By using her position as a global star to champion this cause, she is prompting more manufactures and designers to take these factors into consideration and creating a positive change not only in our manufacturing processes but also in our purchasing decisions.  Both of which can only make a positive impact on our environment and the welfare of those that produce the products themselves.

Tanya Waller, Trade Mark Attorney at HGF


Maya Angelou

She was an award-winning writer who wrote autobiographies, poetry, plays as well as working alongside Martin Luther King and Malcolm X in the civil rights movement. Barack Obama said of her – “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” She sadly died in 2014 but her work in literature earned her over 30 honorary degrees from universities around the world.

Lily Carter, HR Advisor at HGF


I am inspired by women who don’t conform to society’s idea of what we should be, by women who push boundaries, any boundary whether that is race, disability or religion. Women to whom the word no is a challenge to succeed. Some are famous and some are those that I know through work and home.

Hillary Clinton, Dr Rosalind Franklin, Kadeena Cox – Para Sport athlete, Dorothy Lawrence – Journalist,  Professor Susan Short – Professor of clinical Oncology and Neuro Oncology,  Maureen Nash – My Mum

Jacqui Weston, Marketing Director at HGF


Margaret Hamilton

I am inspired by Margaret because she followed her dreams and fought against the norm at a time when women weren’t encouraged to go for the powerful, intellectual roles in industry. She successfully wrote the on-board flight software for the Apollo space program, was the Director of the Software Engineering Division at MIT, and became CEO of her own company called Higher Order Software. I think the thing that most inspires me, as well as being one of the smartest women of her time, she was still a girly girl at heart and was voted Homecoming queen at Earlham college along with her class president and future husband. You can have both beauty and brains.

Sarah Illingworth, Team Secretary at HGF 


To learn more about World Intellectual Property Day and this year’s celebration of the women who have been responsible for the change and innovation that has shaped the world we live in today, visit the WIPO website.

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