From the Alliance

Apr. 29, 2021

Innovation Alliance Applauds Senate Judiciary Committee Passage of IDEA Act

Bill Would Help Promote Diversity in Innovation by Requiring Collection of Demographic Data on Patent Applications

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Innovation Alliance Executive Director Brian Pomper today issued the following statement in response to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s passage of the bipartisan, bicameral Inventor Diversity for Economic Advancement (IDEA) Act:

“The Innovation Alliance applauds the Senate Judiciary Committee for passing the IDEA Act and thanks Senators Hirono, Tillis, Coons, Leahy, and Grassley for cosponsoring the bill. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation is needed to help improve diversity in patenting, which is critical to promoting American innovation and competitiveness.

“Studies show that women, people of color, and lower-income individuals patent inventions at significantly lower rates than their representation in the population. These patent diversity ‘gaps’ are holding back our economy and innovative potential. According to research by Professor Lisa Cook at Michigan State University, including more women and African Americans in the innovation process would increase annual GDP by nearly $1 trillion. And a study by Harvard researchers found that if women, people of color, and children from low-income families were to invent at the same rate as white men from high-income families, there would be four times as many inventors in America as there are today.

“The USPTO currently does not have the authority to collect any demographic information from inventors applying for patents, and as a result we have an incomplete picture of the patent diversity gap. The IDEA Act would help correct this by directing the USPTO to collect demographic data – such as gender, race, or veteran status – on inventors from patent applications on a voluntary basis and make this information available to the public. Demographic information would be kept separate from patent applications to ensure there is no bias in the patent examination process.

“The Innovation Alliance urges the full Senate to take up and pass the IDEA Act as soon as possible. We also urge the House to move forward on passing its identical version of this legislation, which was reintroduced earlier this month by Representatives Velazquez and Stivers.”



The Innovation Alliance represents innovators, patent owners and stakeholders from a diverse range of industries that believe in the critical importance of maintaining a strong patent system that supports innovative enterprises of all sizes. Innovation Alliance members can be found in large and small communities across the country, helping to fuel the innovation pipeline and drive the 21st century economy. Learn more at