In July of 2021, the United States Intellectual Property Alliance (USIPA) launched The Diversity Pledge, which encouraged companies to use patent data as a way to visualize who is participating in their innovation and inventorship processes and more importantly who is not.
Today, more than 50 major companies in the United States and Europe have signed the pledge to understand and address the issue of underrepresented inventors (URI) within their organizations and to facilitate more participation in the innovation ecosystem so that all people and ideas in the United States have an opportunity for success. Additionally, more than 25 law firms, consulting firms and academic institutions have signed on as pledge supporters to provide their assistance as part of the innovation ecosystem.
Some of the founding pledgees, which include Meta, Lenovo, Adobe, AT&T, HP, Cisco, and Microsoft, each made a three-year commitment to learn about one or more groups of underrepresented inventors and identify opportunities and ultimately create best practices to promote equitable opportunities for those groups.
The companies also committed to anonymously report the following data by March 2024 per the Diversity in Innovation Pledge:
- Inventorship Rate for a specific URI group = # of Unique Underrepresented Inventors on Patent Applications) ÷ (Total # of Unique Inventors on Patent Applications)
- Fractional Inventorship Rate for a specific URI group (e.g., average percentage of URIs per patent application in each calendar year) = Sum of % of URIs per Patent Application) ÷ (Total # of Patent Applications)
The USPTO’s Progress and Potential Report was the first step in raising national awareness of gender participation in the innovation process, with women only participating on 13% of patents. We can all agree that as a nation we need to do better, and create an innovation ecosystem where all talented inventors can participate. Today, Meta and Lenovo shared their gender baseline data after the first year, with the hope that their efforts will encourage greater transparency of inventorship data by all companies.
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