Black History Month IPIC Member Spotlight - Jillian Carter
In celebration of Black History Month throughout February IPIC will be highlighting leaders in the #IP profession through a series of Member Spotlights. The spotlights promote the significant contributions these members have made to the IP profession and industry and bring awareness to challenges and/or obstacles they have faced in their careers. Each spotlight will also include insights and advice to inspire the next generation of IP leaders. The following spotlight features IPIC member Jillian Carter, IP Clerk, Perry + Currier Inc. and Certified Canadian Trademark Administrator (CCTA).
About Jillian: When I studied Computer Programming at Sheridan College, I took Criminology as elective course. I was hooked. It was at that time that I realized that I wanted to do something in the legal field. It was about 7 years later that I decided to go back to school, and I received my 2nd diploma for Legal Assistant from CDI College. I wasn’t sure what field I wanted to get into (except that it wasn’t going to be Family or Criminal Law, too emotional). I saw the position for an IP Docketing Clerk and applied for it even though I didn’t know what IP was. I realized how interesting IP was while working as a Docketing Clerk and I stayed in the profession for what is now over 17 years, gaining experience in the Intellectual Property field as a Docketing Clerk and IP Assistant/Clerk. The last 7 years I’ve worked as an IP Clerk (trademarks) at Perry + Currier Inc. I’ve gained knowledge of preparing, filing and the prosecution of patents, trademarks and industrial design applications filed within the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), as well as working on applications for various foreign countries. Three years ago, I obtained the Certified Canadian Trademark Administrator certificate from the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC), of which I am member, which has increase my knowledge and understanding of trademarks. I am also the proud mother of two young men (24 and 19).
Why is equality, diversity, and inclusion important to the IP profession?
The world is made up of a variety of people, different races, backgrounds etc., so why shouldn’t the IP profession? Different backgrounds bring different perspectives to the profession, which is needed and can only be beneficial. Choosing from a certain ethnicity is missing out on the amazing talent that is out there. To encourage more racialized groups to involve themselves in filing patents and trademarks and copyrighting their material.
Which of your accomplishments are you most proud of?
I am very proud that I decided to go back to school at the age of 28, while raising two small children. I earned my Legal Assistant Diploma and quickly found a job at one of the largest law firms in Canada as an IP Docketing Clerk. From there I worked my way up to first, a Patent Legal Assistant and now, an IP Clerk (Trademarks) and I am still learning.
I am also equally proud of receiving my Canadian Certified Trademark Administrator certificate from IPIC.
What advice would you give to those who are just joining our association as they look to advance their careers?
One piece of advice is to continue learning. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) and the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC) all have many courses and webinars that you can take to increase your IP knowledge and many of them are free.
Do not let the colour of your skin or your gender limit you. If you find that you are not getting the opportunity where you are, look at moving to another firm, and don’t discount smaller firms. Sometimes you can get more opportunities and experience because the firm is smaller, and you can do more and contribute more (personal experience).
Get your foot in the door. Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom and work your way up. My first IP position was a Docketing Clerk which I did for just under two years. When the Patent Assistant left, I was offered the position, which I took. My experience as a Docketing Clerk helped me tremendously in my role as a Patent Assistant.
What will be the biggest challenge for the next generation of BIPOC leaders in the IP profession?
Letting up-and-coming lawyers/law students know that IP is an option. I had no idea IP existed until I got the job as a Docketing Clerk. I think somehow, we will have to get into schools, groups, community organizations, committees etc., that are geared to various BIPOC groups.
How has your background/influences brought you to this position, and what made you want to volunteer for IPIC?
My desire to do better for myself and my sons brought me here. I decided to go back to school and that brought me to my first IP position and I enjoyed it so much that I continued to learn as much as I could and advance my career. I’ve worked on patents, trademarks, industrial designs and copyrights.
I have not yet volunteered for IPIC but will definitely do so the first chance I get.