Equality and diversity

We publish regular information about what our equality objectives are and how we're meeting them.

Equality and diversity

We are committed to promoting equality and valuing diversity in the way we deliver our services and the way we manage our employees. We strive to be inclusive through respecting one another, promoting and achieving equality of opportunity, valuing diversity, and providing an accessible, responsive service to our customers.

Our people

IPO is committed to making this a great place to work, where staff are offered flexibility and development, where everyone’s contribution is recognised and diversity is genuinely valued.

As an employer it is IPO policy to:

  • promote a working environment free from discrimination, harassment and victimisation
  • ensure that all decisions relating to employment practices are objective, free from bias, and based solely on work criteria and individual merit, with due account taken of an individual’s personal circumstances and the needs of the business
  • ensure that disabled employees or job applicants are not placed at a substantial disadvantage by a working practice or policy and to make reasonable adjustments when needed

Our customers

Our web pages are designed to be as easy as possible to use and understand.

Online forms are regularly reviewed to make them easier to use, benefitting all customers including those with a disability. Paper-based methods will continue for those who need them.

Our private applicants unit is a dedicated service for applicants who want to file patent applications without professional representation. The unit recognises the varied needs of customers and offers personal support.

Outreach activities

IPO works with ethnic business clubs, universities, Business Links, chambers of commerce and female innovators to increase awareness of the wealth-creating potential of intellectual property rights. Firms can attend IPO seminars or subscribe to the IPO E-newsletter. To date our IP Health Check online tool has been accessed over 15,000 times. IPO works in partnership with Aardman Animations to reach aspiring young innovators and entrepreneurs. The Wallace and Grommit Cracking Ideas online game about intellectual property has been played more than 4.5 million times.

Access to copyrighted material

The UN Convention on disability rights states that its parties must: ‘ensure that laws protecting intellectual property rights do not constitute an unreasonable or discriminatory barrier to access by persons with disabilities to cultural materials’.

UK copyright law allows accessible copies of copyright material to be made by, and on behalf of, people with visual impairment and for designated bodies to sub-title broadcasts. This means that it is possible to make a Braille book from a print book, for example, without infringing copyright.

The government is currently consulting on whether these existing laws need to be simplified and extended to cover a wider range of media and disabilities to ensure wider access.

The UK is also actively engaged in World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) negotiations to improve access to copyright works by visually impaired people around the world.

Access to the information we publish can be requested in alternative formats, including large print, audio cassette or Braille.