An Empirical Study of Patent Grant Rates as a Function of Race and Gender

In this article, we examine the rate at which patent applications are granted as a function of the inventor’s race and gender. Empirical analysis of more than 3.9 million United States applications finds minority and women applicants are significantly less likely to secure a patent relative to the balance of inventors. Further analysis indicates that a portion of this bias is introduced during prosecution at the Patent Office, independent of the quality of the application. Mechanisms underlying these disparities are explored. The paper concludes with a discussion of our results and their interaction with patent law, innovation policy, and employment trends.

Authors: Mike Schuster, Evan Davis, Kourtney Schley, and Julie Ravenscraft

Originally published on SSRN.

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