ChIPs Global Summit 2016: Event Wrap-Up

By Hannah Poplack and Molly Parsons

The fifth annual ChIPs Women in Technology, Law and Policy Global Summit took place September 15-16th, 2016 at the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, DC. This year’s summit brought together over 500 women from all over the country to share experiences and ideas, network, and work together to further the advancement of women in IP, technology and policy.

The three days of ChIPs programming kicked off with the inaugural NextGen Summit on September 14th, a day-long event for young professionals in the first 10-15 years of their careers, focusing on giving these high-potential individuals the opportunity to hone their legal skills, access relevant programming through panels and working sessions and expand their network through forging connections with their equally accomplished peers.

This year’s Summit programming commenced with the organization’s annual Hall of Fame Presentation and Dinner Wednesday evening, which seeks to recognize exceptional individuals who have significantly contributed to the areas of intellectual property, technology, law and public policy and have shown a commitment to the ChIPs mission. This year, ChIPs honored Megan Smith, the Chief Technology Officer in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Megan spoke at length about her background as a woman technologist, and the need for diversity and inclusion in the technology field.

“Our organizations need diverse teams–we need our organizations to have an agenda of prosperity and security, not of popularity,” said Smith in her acceptance speech.

This theme of diversity and inclusion in technology continued when the ChIPs main Summit kicked off Thursday morning. The Main Summit opened with a welcome from Mallun Yen, ChIPs Co-Founder, Board Director and CEO, and Executive VP of RPX, who highlighted notable events during the year ranging from the progress of women to technology and IP news, including the new federal Defend Trade Secrets Act, Apple’s public dispute with the FBI, and the fair use decision in Google v. Oracle. The two-day event featured a wide range of programming, ranging from fireside chats to workshops, speaking events and panels. Each day’s discussions were equally diverse, covering topics such as copyright law, Supreme Court and judiciary prospects, negotiations, relationship building, patent law and diversity and inclusion concerns in the industry, and how the private sector and government can work together to enable innovation. In the hall where the majority of the day’s most recognizable speakers from the industry took the stage, the room was buzzing with the power and influence behind their words.

In conversation with NPR’s Nina Totenberg and ChIPs Co-Founder and Board Chair Noreen Krall, WilmerHale’s Jamie Gorelick (former Deputy Attorney General) stated,“It is my belief that women should invade any domain that doesn’t have enough of us. Ladies, we’ve come a long way!”

The extraordinarily diverse group of attendees and speakers included executives and in-house counsel from industries ranging from technology, telecommunications, and media to pharmaceuticals and nonprofits; government attendees from the ITC, FTC, USPTO, DOJ, DHS, Capitol Hill and federal courts; private practice partners and associates; and academics and students.

Highlights of the Summit included a star-studded panel with all five women Federal Circuit Judges, an open discussion on the Oracle v. Google software copyright case from the women at the forefront of the landmark case, and sessions featuring leading female CEO/Founders to discussions about technologies that are helping solve diversity challenges.

This inspiring event ended with a closing speech from ChIPs Co-Founder and Board Director, Emily Ward, in which she touched on memorable moments from the Summit and highlighted important messages for attendees to take back to better their respective communities. In a galvanizing end to a momentous event, Ward prompted the audience with a call to action, stating, “Be a hero to someone in your life. Shape your own story. Take a risk. And most of all, live as the powerful amazing women that each of you are!”