Patent News

Jan. 15, 2020

House Small Business Committee Press Release: Velázquez Looks to Increase Equity for Women and Minorities in the Patent System

Washington, D.C.— Today, the House Small Business Committee under Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) held a hearing examining the issue of patent diversity and how a lack of diversity in the innovation process is hindering the economy and small business. Studies show that women and minorities apply and obtain patents at a rate significantly lower than their white male counterparts, effectively locking many groups out of the innovation ecosystem.

“Applying for and obtaining a patent allows small firms to gain access to capital, find licensing deals, and level the playing field with larger competitors—all of which are vital to creating jobs and fostering economic growth, said Chairwoman Velázquez. “However, women, minorities, and low-income individuals from urban and rural America are significantly underrepresented in the innovation ecosystem. We need to work to create meaningful policies that foster more opportunities for all Americans to innovate, seek patent protection for their inventions, and reap the benefits of entrepreneurship.”

Historically, the United States has been a global leader when it comes to innovation and entrepreneurship. However, in recent years, studies have shown the U.S. slipping in its place amongst the most innovative nations. In 2018, the U.S. dropped to number six among the most innovative countries. Census data shows that the number of new companies as a share of U.S. businesses has dropped by 44% since 1978. Experts speculate that this drop in innovation can be partly attributed to the exclusionary nature of the innovation economy. Certain studies project that GDP per capita in the U.S. could rise to 4.6 percent with the inclusion of more women and minorities in the innovation process.