Posts Tagged: "women inventors"

A Better Way to Husk: Martha Jones, First Black Woman to Receive a U.S. Patent

Martha Jones of Amelia County, Virginia, is believed by many to be the first black woman to receive a United States patent. Her application for an “Improvement to the Corn Husker, Sheller” was granted U.S. patent No. 77,494 in 1868. Jones claimed her invention could husk, shell, cut up, and separate husks from corn in one operation, representing a significant step forward in the automation of agricultural processes.

USPTO Report Cites Incremental Growth in the Number of Women Inventor-Patentees

This month, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) released a report titled “Progress and Potential: 2020 update on U.S. women inventor- patentees” (the Report). The Report updated a study published last year that outlined trends in women inventors named on U.S. patents from 1976 to 2016. These reports are a result of the Study of Underrepresented Classes Chasing Engineering and Science Success (SUCCESS) Act of 2018, which directed the USPTO to study and report to Congress on the number of patents applied for and obtained: (1) by women, minorities, and veterans; and (2) by small businesses owned by women, minorities, and veterans. As evidenced by the USPTO reports, women are under-represented as inventors of record on USPTO patents, which is least partially due to a general lack of funding available to women inventors. 

Across Industries, the Female Inventor Rate is Half the Female Employment Rate

The Study of Underrepresented Classes Chasing Engineering and Science Success (SUCCESS) Act of 2018 directs the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to study and report to Congress on the number of patents applied for and obtained: (1) by women, minorities, and veterans; and (2) by small businesses owned by women, minorities, and veterans. In partial fulfilment of that directive, the USPTO Office of the Chief Economist, in February of 2019, published “Progress and Potential – A profile of women inventors on U.S. Patents”. The stated purpose of the report is “to learn more about the progress and potential of women in patenting,” as a means to “harness underexploited talent.”… We believed that it may be instructive to attempt to pair women-inventor-representation data and women-workforce-representation data across multiple technological fields. Our data indicates that, across industries, employed female engineers are half as likely to be listed as inventors on patent applications as compared to their male counterparts. Why might females be underrepresented as inventors, even within industries where many females are employed? The authors submit that it is essential to investigate these root causes.

First House IP Subcommittee Hearing of 116th Congress Addresses Ways to Increase Female Inventorship

Today, April 3, the Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property held a hearing titled Trailblazers and Lost Einsteins: Women Inventors and the Future of American Innovation—a topic that also was considered last Wednesday by the House Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet in their first hearing of the term. The House hearing was titled, Lost Einsteins: Lack of Diversity in Patent Inventorship and the Impact on America’s Innovation Economy and, like today’s Senate hearing, focused on a recent report on female inventorship released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and featured testimony on how to improve rates of female inventorship from a collection of women in fields having strong ties to the U.S. patent system. Susie Armstrong, Senior Vice President of Engineering for Qualcomm, Inc., said that, for companies like hers that were trying to take the lead in 5G mobile networks and other areas of innovation, more great tech minds from underrepresented communities were needed. An inventor herself who helped create single packet data communications that allowed cell phones to access the Internet for the first time, Armstrong said that Qualcomm had produced educational initiatives like the Thinkabit Lab, which partners with school districts and libraries to encourage students to innovate in the Internet of Things (IoT) sector.

Women and patents: why we need to close the gender gap

We have known for decades that economies grow when the women in them work. The more that women find ways to contribute their ideas and inventions to the economy, at a rate that at least equals their numbers as half the American population, the better off our country and the world will be.

Increasing Number of Women Patent Holders Can Spur U.S. Innovation, Grow the Economy

On Thursday, December 1, I attended the Innovation Alliance’s panel on Closing the Patent Gender Gap: How Increasing the Number of Women Patent Holders Can Spur U.S. Innovation and Grow the Economy. The panel, which was moderated by the Licensing Manager for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Jennifer Gottwald, Ph.D discussed the recent findings of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and their report on Equity in Innovation: Women Inventors and Patents that was released on November 29, 2016, which explores how women are “underrepresented” among patent holders as well as their relative success in being granted patents when they do apply for them.

Does the Patent Gender Gap Matter?

Why should we care about getting more women inventing? What does it matter? You don’t find more innovation by looking in places where you’re not likely to discover it. You’ll find innovation by researching and developing and we have several untapped sources of potential. Up until now there has been little or no real significant output on an entrepreneurial innovative level for female inventors, as well as with minority inventors. So I’m very interested in the types of programs that are going on at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and I’m very interested in the efforts to try and bring women into the entrepreneurial and innovative space because I think that’s where we can find creative, fresh ideas. So I think this is a very important initiative.

The Patent Gender Gap Goes Beyond Fewer Women in Math and Sciences

“[W]e are finding that when the schools that are starting to measure their invention disclosure and their patent filings, again with at least one woman represented, even when they control for the percentage of female faculty members within a given department, for instance, they’re still finding that yes, there are fewer women represented but those fewer women that are represented are not filing as many invention disclosures as their male counterparts. So while we do need to concentrate on changing the culture and on making sure that girls and women are encouraged within these fields, we also have to, I think, for the sake of our economy, concentrate on women who are in these fields and are working and make sure that they also know about the patent process and find that accessible to them.”

Mark Cuban-backed LuminAID receives first U.S. patent, completes $2 million in sales through 2015

The company has been earning a bit of acclaim from media publications for its technology. Tech news outlet CNET has reported that, when deflated, 50 LuminAID solar-powered lights can ship in the same amount of space as eight flashlights. Popular Science also gave the product a glowing review as a useful accessory for campers or hikers. The product hasn’t just attracted media attention, however. It also has wooed the financial backing of Mark Cuban, one of the regular business investors featured on hit reality TV show Shark Tank. Cuban, a billionaire tech investor and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, offered to invest in LuminAID’s business on an episode of Shark Tank airing in February 2015.

The Patent Gender Gap: Less than 20% of U.S. patents have at least one woman inventor

Although women have more than quintupled their representation among patent holders since 1977, a pronounced patent gender gap remains. In 2010, according to a new briefing paper by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), fewer than one in five patents had at least one woman inventor named. Although quintupling the number of women inventors over the last 30+ years is impressive, at the current growth rate it is projected that it will take until 2092 for women to reach parity in patenting.