The 2018 Mid-Atlantic Your Honor Award in the category of Community Engagement went to Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett, and Dunner, LLP, and its Women’s Business Initiative (WBI) for their program, “Intellectual Property: What is it? Where is it? Who does it? Why do it? And, How?” This event was part of an overarching Intellectual Property (IP) patch program, developed as a partnership between the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital (GSCNC) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and in collaboration with the Intellectual Property Owners (IPO) Education Foundation and the IPO Women in IP Committee.
For this profile, we spoke to Alexa Curto, Marketing Events and Special Projects Coordinator at Finnegan.
“The IPO Education Foundation and the IPO Women in IP Committee have been partnering with the Girl Scouts for a while to offer the IP patch [for their vests]. In early 2018, Finnegan launched our WBI. A main goal of this initiative includes building relationships with women business leaders and placing a public spotlight on IP and our female attorneys, all while benefitting the local community. This clearly was a perfect way to do that.”
Eighty local second through fifth grade students and Girl Scouts joined Finnegan on a Saturday morning in February to learn about innovation and earn an IP patch. Through a series of hands-on activities and presentations, students explored the many ways in which inventors solve problems and use IP to protect their ideas and creations. All students created an invention and rotated through stations – all led by female Finnegan attorneys – highlighting key facets of IP, including patents, trademarks and copyrights.
The program culminated with words of advice and encouragement from female IP role models, including in-house counsel, USPTO officials and federal judges. “Coming from an IP firm, I am constantly seeing how important IP is, but that’s not typically on the radar of eight to ten-year-old students. Being able to introduce them to the idea of IP or STEM as a career was really exciting.”
The program drew significant media interest, garnering coverage in Scholastic News Kids Press Corp and STEM for Women magazine. Parents of participants praised the program for its engaging content and organization, and the female IP role models noted that Finnegan’s execution was a model to consider replicating in the future.
“We really had a great time putting it together, but, as you can imagine, coordinating 80 students is quite unique compared to the traditional educational programs that we’re used to hosting. A little more glitter, too.”
By Rebecca Edwards, Marketing & Business Development Manager, Williams Mullen, for the Fourth Quarter 2018 LMA Mid-Atlantic Region Newsletter