Innovation Leaders Kick Off ChIPs Global Summit

Four of the world’s top IP policy makers launched the ChIPs Global Summit November 9, 2023, in San Francisco. Nearly 650 women in tech and IP law and policy from around the world attended the two-day event, which was themed “Inclusion for All.”

The opening panel was moderated by ChIPs Board Chair Katherine Minarik, vice president of legal and deputy general counsel of Coinbase. Rena Lee, chief executive of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, Shira Perlmutter, director of the U.S. Copyright Office, Margaret Tregurtha, deputy director of IP Australia, and Kathi Vidal, director of the United States Patent and Trade Office discussed hot topics in regulation and innovation, including important inclusion initiatives.


“We are extremely gratified by this year’s ChIPs Global Summit,” Joan Toth, ChIPs executive director. ”The topics were diverse and the speakers were on point.”

Toth said they gave the event high marks, rating it 4.56 on a 5-point scale. Ninety-three percent said they made new connections, 94% found the speakers relevant and more than 93% said they would attend again. Forty percent of attendees were women of color and 43% were attending the event for the first time.

Other general sessions focused on the challenges facing general counsels, antitrust investigations and tech mergers, artificial intelligence, hot topics in IP law, and legislative trends.

A panel of federal judges was moderated by Colleen Chien, professor of law at University of California Berkeley School of Law. The panel featured Rebecca Pallmeyer, chief judge of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois; Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell for the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas; and Barbara Lynn, senior United States district judge for the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas.

Hall of Fame

Juanita Brooks was presented with the ChIPs Hall of Fame Award, Friday, November 10 by ChIPs Board Member Sarita Venkat of Cisco. “ChIPs Hall of Fame was started in 2013 to honor leaders who inspire the next generation, have made significant contributions to law, technology and policy, and who have shown a demonstrated commitment to the advancement of women. Eleven women have won this prestigious honor, including Nina Totenberg and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The woman we honor today — Juanita Brooks — is the 12th,” Venkat said.

Brooks, a principal at Fish & Richardson San Diego, is a nationally recognized trial and appellate attorney who focuses on complex intellectual property, products liability, and mass tort litigation. She is known as innovative, formidable litigator with a demonstrated, near-perfect record winning complex, high-stakes lawsuits. “I am so honored to be honored by ChIPs,” she said. “I can remember when (ChIPs) was so small we could all meet in someone’s hotel room.” She added, “You are so amazing — this is what ChIPs brings to the community.”

Other highlights of the 13th annual ChIPs Global Summit included introduction of the first two cohorts of ChIPs General Counsel Boot Camp by Board Member Dorian Daley and scholarship presentations to two third-year IP law students — Jada Bennett of Southern University Law Center of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Caroline Voelker of the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law in Concord, New Hampshire.

State of the Network

Board Chair Katherine Minarik welcomed the ChIPs membership with an annual “ State of the Network” report. “ChIPs is an organization that has been fundamental to my professional life. That’s exactly what we are here for — to build a community of professional support and advancement and transformation for women lawyers in tech and IP.”

She introduced and thanked her fellow Board members: Stephanie Burns, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Sony Interactive Entertainment; Dorian Daley, former General Counsel of Oracle and current board member of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy; Victoria Espinel, President and CEO of BSA, The Software Alliance; Karen Robinson, head of litigation, trust and safety, and IP at Adobe; Sarita Venkat, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Global Litigation and Competition at Cisco; Cyndi Wheeler, Head of Intellectual Property at Unity; and Jennifer Yokoyama, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for IP and Tech at Cisco.

“This year’s Global Summit theme — Innovation for All — is a rallying cry and reminder that inclusion is critical to innovation, and that innovation is critical to the future of our companies, our industries, and our planet,” she said. “ChIPs is where innovation and inclusion come together to make that progress.”

ChIPs Executive Director Joan Toth drilled down on facts and figures during her comments on the State of the Network. “ChIPs membership has increased from a handful in 2005 to 3,700 in 2020 and more than 6,500 today  — an increase of 75% in just three years,” she noted.

“Our 2023 highlights included our third ChIPs European Summit in Brussels, the launch of our powerful new online member Community; our NextGen Summit at USPTO Headquarters; a second cohort of our General Counsel Bootcamp; two Mock Pitch events; webinars featuring our five DEIB Honor Roll winners; and our Accelerators webinar series with top law firms.”

Toth said, “Our chapters are our stilettos on the ground.  Their events reached thousands and ranged from pop-up mixers to prestigious panel discussions around the country and around the world.”