On April 26 each year, WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization, celebrates World Intellectual Property Day. According to its webpage about the occasion, it offers a “unique opportunity each year to join with others around the globe to consider how IP contributes to the flourishing of music and the arts and to driving the technological innovation that helps shape our world.”
Theme of 2018: “Powering change: Women in innovation and creativity”
This year, WIPO is honoring the “brilliance, ingenuity, curiosity and courage of the women who are driving change in our world and shaping our common future.” Given the historical disadvantage of women in commerce, it is timely that the WIPO, the intellectual property arm of the United Nations, would choose to recognize the brilliant contributions of women to innovation worldwide.
Last week, we posted a blog about the gap between the number of women filing patent applications and the number of men doing the same. In that post, we cited statistics from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research that show these numbers slowly increasing. As we said, the attorneys and staff at Hovey Williams LLP strongly support female inventors and their many contributions, and call for an increase in access to and understanding of U.S. and international protections for their intellectual property.
A recent article in Inventors Digest discusses possible historical reasons for underrepresentation of female inventors in patent ownership:
- Some believe that husbands regularly asserted official responsibility for their wives’ inventions.
- Women’s creative contributions were just not given credit nor were their intelligence and creativity acknowledged by males of colonial or 1800s America. In fact, the first time a patent was granted to a woman was in 1809.
It is time for serious equalizing of the playing field, putting women and men on the same footing for intellectual property success. We will continue to share information about women and innovation in this space as April 26 approaches.