This report compiles existing data on women and patenting. It explores both women’s underrepresentation among patent holders and their relative success in being granted patents when they apply for them. The report identifies the technology classes that women are most likely to patent in, and examines the overall success of patents granted to women as measured by their assignment rates and citation counts. The report draws on the social science literature to identify major obstacles that women face to patenting and, based on the research findings, presents several recommendations to help to close the gender patenting gap. This report was funded by Qualcomm, Inc.

Authors: IWPR (Jessica Milli, Ph.D., Emma Williams-Baron, Meika Berlan, Jenny Xia, and Barbara Gault, Ph.D.)

Published by IWPR.

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.