Increasing Diversity in Innovation by Tracking Women, Minority, and Startups Innovators that Patent and Supporting Experimentation in Inclusive Innovation
10 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2019
Date Written: June 30, 2019
The SUCCESS Act requires the USPTO and SBA to report to Congress on ways that the agencies can promote and increase the participation of women, minorities, and veterans in inventing, innovation and entrepreneurship. This is the written version of oral testimony provided to USPTO SUCCESS Act Hearings held in San Jose in June 2019 and makes four points. First, due to the absence of other sources of reliable demographic data on participation in inventing, the USPTO should collect data from patent applicants, but keep this information segregated from the examination function and initially disseminate it in bulk-reported form or for research related purposes resulting in bulk-reporting. During an initial collection period, the Office should ask applicants and stakeholders about their concerns to their data being sharing more generally, and develop policy informed by these responses. Second, in addition to collecting data about patent applicants, the PTO should more systematically collect and distribute data about assignees that support the tracking of startups, small businesses, independent inventors, minority- and veteran-owned businesses; it should also more systematically support the tracking not only of patent application, but the full participation, through grant, maintenance, and patent transaction - of underrepresented applicants and assignees - in the patent system. Third, the PTO should support investigations of the possibility of implicit, structural, or other forms of bias on participation in the patent system - for example by carrying out or supporting experimentation to uncover the root causes of the 7-21% lower grant rate to female applications, and considering the barriers to participation inadvertently created by the degree prerequisites of patent prosecutors, and take appropriate action. Fourth, the USPTO should use its convening power to work with companies to uncover the practices that lead to greater rates of participation in inventing.
Keywords: USPTO, Success Act, inventors, minorities, women, veterans, diversity, inclusion
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