The framework


(1) Learn about Under-Represented Inventors (URIs) and identify the opportunity to increase engagement

  • Identify the extent of potential URIs in your organization
  • Connect URI data and its value to greater diversity in inventorship and business impact and how it could be measured (e.g., increased profitability, market share, customer acquisition, employee recruitment/retention)

(2) Raise Internal Awareness

  • Message/Evangelize
  • Coordinate with existing diversity and inclusion efforts within your organization
  • Obtain Management buy-in. Find an executive or other management sponsor in your organization, headcount or budget

   Completion Criteria:

  • Identify and articulate business justification
  • Secure internal executive or management sponsor, headcount or budget
  • Liaise with diversity and inclusion office and relevant affinity groups within your organization (to the extent they exist)


(3) Determine your baseline inventor data

  • Define Year 1 URI focus group (people who identify as female, people of color, veterans, people with disabilities, etc.)
  • Define the invention life cycle for your organization (brainstorm > disclosure > disposition > filing > grant > maintenance)
  • Obtain your organization’s best available data for at least one stage of the invention timeline for at least one URI focus group (people who identify as female, people of color, veterans, people with disabilities, etc.)

  Completion Criteria:

  • Measure participation using best available data of at least one URI group across at least one stage, if not all, of the invention life cycle
  • Determine at which stage of the internal patent process you will start addressing URIs
  • Pilot at least one proposed URI response


(4) Examine and explore root cause(s) and potential solutions for each group of URIs and implement programming aimed at increasing engagement

  Completion Criteria:

  • Solicit feedback (via survey and/or interviews) from your inventors (or a subset of your inventors)
  • Create & implement one or more targeted programs to address URIs (e.g., patent harvest sessions with URI groups)
  • Measure change in your organization’s inventor pool as a result of new programming


(5) Benchmark your organization’s data for your selected URI

  Completion Criteria:

  • Benchmark your inventorship metrics with at least 1 other source (e.g., company, industry, nation, etc.)


(6) Advocate and raise awareness of underrepresented inventors

   Completion Criteria:

  • Advocate that greater diversity in inventorship will benefit the business 
  • Publicly support initiatives, actions and organizations that promote greater diversity in inventorship
  • Participate in a conference that promotes greater diversity in inventorship

The Diversity Pledge was designed to facilitate collaboration among corporations who collectively represent the largest filers of patents. Pledgees include over 40 companies spanning a variety of industries including consumer products, telecommunications, social media, software, finance and biologics among others.  We hope many more companies join the founding pledgees to make actionable and measurable change in increasing diversity in innovation with their current employee base.  


Suzanne Harrison
USIPA, Diversity & Inclusion

Bowman Heiden
UC Berkeley Fung Institute

Karla Soler Riba
Center for Intellectual Property (CIP)