Innovation Alliance Statement on USPTO Report on Women Inventors on U.S. Patents
Report Confirms That Women Are Obtaining Patents at Rates Far Lower Than Men, a Trend That Undermines American Innovation and Competitiveness
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Innovation Alliance Executive Director Brian Pomper today issued the following statement in response to the release this week of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) report, “Progress and Potential: A Profile of Women Inventors on U.S. Patents:”
“The Innovation Alliance commends USPTO Director Iancu and his staff for releasing an important new report this week detailing the number of women inventors listed on U.S. patents. Unfortunately, the report confirms prior research by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research finding that women are obtaining patents at rates far lower than men, a trend that undermines American innovation and competitiveness.
“Specifically, the USPTO found that only 21 percent of U.S. patents granted from 1976 to 2016 list a woman as an inventor. Despite high rates of women participating in nearly all science occupations, including biology, physical science, computer science and engineering, women do not patent technology at significant rates. Moreover, the study found that women represent an even smaller proportion of inventors: in 2016, only 12 percent of all unique inventors granted a patent in the U.S. were women.
“The USPTO also found that women patent at higher rates when they work on larger, mixed gender teams. Women inventors were also concentrated in certain fields, with higher patenting rates in chemistry, including biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, and design fields, where there are higher numbers of other female inventors.
“It is critical that policymakers and researchers continue to collect and study data on the patenting rates of women and people of color. Low participation rates of women and people of color hold back our technological and economic growth.
“This report is an important step in better understanding the gender imbalance in patenting. We also look forward to the forthcoming report from the USPTO required under the Study of Underrepresented Communities Chasing Engineering and Science Success (SUCCESS) Act, which was passed by Congress last year. That report will examine disparities in patenting according to race and veteran status, in addition to gender, and make policy recommendations concerning closing the gaps. The Innovation Alliance is excited to work with Director Iancu and his staff at the USPTO to help further promote diversity and gender equality across our innovation ecosystem.”
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.