“It is critical that industry, academia, and government work together to strengthen our culture of innovation by encouraging the participation of young people from diverse backgrounds.” – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced yesterday a major initiative to “build a more diverse and inclusive innovation ecosystem by encouraging participation demographically, geographically, and economically.” Dubbed the National Council for Expanding American Innovation (NCEAI), the project includes 29 representatives from industry, academia, and government, and was conceived based on recommendations made in the USPTO’s 2018 SUCCESS Act study and congressional report transmitted to Congress in December 2019.
The 2018 SUCCESS Act was introduced by Representative Steve Chabot (R-OH) to “direct the United States Patent and Trademark Office, in consultation with the Administrator of the Small Business Administration, to study and provide recommendations to promote the participation of women, minorities, and veterans in entrepreneurship activities and the patent system.” As part of the process for developing a report making legislative recommendations, the USPTO held a number of hearings on the topic, and many inventors testified that high cost and weakened patent laws have exacerbated the problem of underrepresentation.
“It is critical that industry, academia, and government work together to strengthen our culture of innovation by encouraging the participation of young people from diverse backgrounds,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in yesterday’s press release. “Through the National Council for Expanding American Innovation, we plan to develop a national strategy for promoting and increasing the participation of underrepresented groups as inventor-patentees, entrepreneurs, and innovation leaders.”
Ross; USPTO Director Andrei Iancu; Jovita Carranza of the U.S. Small Business Administration; and Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan, Director, National Science Foundation, are the federal government representatives on the Council.
According to the Council’s website, its mission is to help the USPTO “develop a comprehensive national strategy to increase participation in our innovation ecosystem by encouraging, empowering, and supporting all future innovators. That includes increasing the involvement of women and other underrepresented groups.”
The NCEAI will create strategies around how to increase participation in the innovation ecosystem and will release periodic updates, such as the Council’s “Progress and Potential” report on women inventor-patentees, which updates the USPTO’s 2019 report of the same name.
The NCEAI is inviting the public to submit comments with “ideas, programs, and policies that will boost innovation in America” by email to NCEAI@uspto.gov.
Join IPWatchdog Virtual CON2020 later today for a panel – The Gender Gap: Addressing STEM Education, Funding & Inventorship – that will explore many of the issues the NCEAI is intended to address in more detail.