The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently released a report entitled “Progress and Potential: A profile of women inventors on U.S. patents.” The study examines trends and characteristics of among women inventors granted U.S. patents between 1976 and 2016. As with past reports on the subject of women inventors, it points out that women still make up a small minority of the patented inventors. It does highlight potential ways women can spur innovation and economic growth here in the U.S.
Several important highlights in the report include:
- The number of patents that had at least one woman as an inventor went from 7 percent in the 1980s to 21 percent in 2016.
- Despite that growth, the total number of women inventors was still only 12 percent in 2016.
- Gains of women in science and engineering professions as well as entrepreneurship is not leading to similar gains for women earning patents.
- States with larger numbers of women in the workforce or a larger tech industry footprint have higher numbers of women inventors.
- Women are increasing in fields that have always had higher female representation, rather than enter male-dominated fields.
- Women are increasingly appearing on patents with larger mixed gender teams rather than as the sole name on a granted patent.
The report struck a positive note by adding several inspiring quotes, but one by Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce and Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Laura Peter stood out: “Women inventors have made and continue to make key contributions. We look forward to working with industry, academia, and other government agencies to identify ways to increase the number of women inventors in all sectors of our economy.” We could not have said it better ourselves.
Attorneys can provide key guidance
Patent attorneys can provide knowledgeable and effective guidance based experience. Whether working with men or women inventors, that guidance can increase the chances of success by recognizing issues before filing as well as during appeals and litigation.