This spring, we posted a series on the theme of this year’s World Intellectual Property Day: “Powering change: Women in innovation and creativity.” As we said then, our intellectual property law firm encourages girls and women to continue to excel in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
And ultimately, as women continue embrace STEM in education and career paths, innovation and entrepreneurship will follow, at which point their intellectual property rights to their own ideas and inventions must be legally protected through the patent process.
Focus on gender diversity
On July 24, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research announced a significant research study of projects focused on “female underrepresentation in innovation,” including, entrepreneurship and patenting.
According to IWPR:
- Women are less likely to enter a STEM field.
- They are less likely to file for patents for their inventions.
- In 2010, about 20 percent of all patents had at least one female inventor.
The researchers identified the top-seven programs nationally in government, nonprofit, academic and corporate settings. They also interviewed significant leaders and participants in this effort to “examin[e] the underrepresentation of women, including women of color, among patent holders and in … STEM disciplines and occupations.”
The study identified common strategies among successful programs:
- Information and education about the patent process
- Assistance with networking and identifying potential investors
- Focus on cultural change
- Assessment of participant progress
St. Louis Program
One of the chosen programs is in the same region of the country as our Kansas City-area law office. BioSTL’s Bioscience & Entrepreneurship Inclusion Initiative’s goal is to “increase diversity” in the St. Louis area’s bioscience tech industry. Its efforts include workshops and individual inventor coaching to help bring their innovations to commercial markets.
The authors of the report say it is “designed to provide an accessible resource for those interested in interventions to increase the number of women who patent.” The link above provides access to the entire report.