From the Alliance

Jul. 25, 2019

Innovation Alliance Statement on Introduction of IDEA Act

Bill Would Require Collection of Demographic Data on Patent Applicants to Aid in Development of Policies to Improve Diversity in Patenting

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Innovation Alliance Executive Director Brian Pomper today issued the following statement in response to the introduction of the Inventor Diversity for Economic Advancement (IDEA) Act of 2019:

“The Innovation Alliance commends Representatives Velazquez and Stivers and Senators Tillis and Hirono for introducing the IDEA Act in both the Senate and House. This legislation takes critical steps needed to improve diversity in patenting, which will help in promoting American innovation and competitiveness.

“Specifically, the IDEA Act would require the USPTO to collect, on a voluntary basis, demographic data from each inventor applying for and granted a patent, publish that data annually and produce a biennial report evaluating the data. This data collection would make it significantly easier for policymakers and researchers to study and track the diversity of inventors and aid in the development of policies that will close diversity gaps in our innovation ecosystem. The IDEA Act also represents an important next step following last year’s enactment of the SUCCESS Act, which required USPTO to produce a report based on existing data and make recommendations for closing diversity gaps in patenting.

“Researchers have found that women, persons of color and low-income individuals apply for and hold far fewer patents than white males, which is contributing to an imbalance in entrepreneurial and startup success rates and a drain on American innovation and competitiveness. For example, the USPTO issued a report earlier this year finding that only 21 percent of U.S. patents granted from 1976 to 2016 listed a woman as an inventor. And in 2016, only 12 percent of all unique inventors granted a patent in the U.S. were women. Economists at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research similarly found that fewer than one in five patents are held by a woman inventor and, at the current rate of progress, women inventors will not reach parity in patenting until 2092.

“Generating higher rates of patenting or other intellectual property holdings among women, persons of color and low-income individuals will improve their access to venture capital and other financing, allowing them to expand research and development and more easily bring their innovations to market. Progress toward gender, racial/ethnic and socioeconomic equity in patenting will also benefit society by driving economic growth and bringing new ideas to the table in the search for solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

“The Innovation Alliance urges both the Senate and House to take up and pass the IDEA Act as soon as possible.”



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