Innovation Alliance Statement on Reintroduction 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 reintroduction of the bipartisan, bicameral Inventor Diversity for Economic Advancement (IDEA) Act:
“The Innovation Alliance commends Senators Hirono and Tillis and Representatives Velazquez and Stivers for reintroducing the IDEA Act in both the Senate and House. This bipartisan legislation is needed to help improve diversity in patenting, which is critical to promoting American innovation and competitiveness.
“Despite the enormous significance of patenting to the U.S. economy and individual inventors, women, people of color, and lower-income individuals patent at rates significantly lower than their peers. In fact, a 2020 study from the USPTO found that less than 13% of all inventors listed on U.S. patents were women, and that Black and Hispanic college graduates apply for and obtain patents at half of the rate of their White counterparts.
“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.
“Breaking down barriers to patenting in underrepresented communities would help these inventors gain access to venture capital and other financing, allowing them to expand research and development and more easily bring their innovations to market.
“The Innovation Alliance urges both the Senate and House to take up and pass the IDEA Act as soon as possible.”
ABOUT THE INNOVATION ALLIANCE
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 www.innovationalliance.net.