Most inventors named on patents are men – in the US, almost 90%. The disparity, discussed in a previous blog here, exceeds the underlying disparities in the education and advancement of women in science, technology, and engineering (STEM), suggesting that innovative contributions of women are not being patented. To assess and address this issue, the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) is presenting a free Virtual Roadshow webinar on April 28, 2020, with a panel of experts discussing the statistics and the tools available to help ensure patenting of women’s inventions, including IPO’s Gender Diversity in Innovation Toolkit.

The one-hour webinar will begin at 11:00 am PT / 2:00 pm ET on Tuesday April 28. No registration is required.

The speakers will include:

  • Andrew Toole, Chief Economist, USPTO, and a Research Associate at the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim, Germany. Dr. Toole studies the economics of innovation, intellectual property, and related science and technology policies.
  • Sandra Nowak, Assistant Chief IP Counsel for 3M Company and co-chair of the Intellectual Property Owners Association’s (IPO’s) Women Inventors Subcommittee. Ms. Nowak testified before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee about “Trailblazers and Lost Einsteins: Women Inventors and the Future of American Innovation.”
  • Molly Kocialski, Director of the Rocky Mountain Regional, USPTO, who leads the Rocky Mountain regional office. Ms. Kocialski helps ensures the USPTO’s initiatives and programs are tailored to the region’s industries and stakeholders.
  • Karen Maples, Founder & Chief Catalyst, FutureForward, a global initiative to inspire women scientists to commercialize their research. Ms. Maples participated in the creation of the AUTM University and Tech Transfer Toolkit for increasing outreach to women scientists and faculty for technology commercialization.

The IPO’s Gender Diversity in Innovation Toolkit is a booklet that outlines four steps organizations can take to help ensure that they are fostering, identifying, and patenting innovations by women. The first step is to increase awareness of the issue and support for addressing it. The second step is to assess the root cause for gender-based disparities in patenting within the organization. Such causes may, for example, arise from issues with inventors, managers, or IP professionals, and may involve cultural or process-related aspects in patenting of innovations. The third step is to develop short- and long-term programs that address the root causes. The fourth step is to launch and monitor the programs.

The Toolkit includes materials for use at each step, including templates for pitching and presenting the issues, summary statistics, and sample surveys. There is also a law firm complement to the Toolkit, for use by firm lawyers who want to help their clients become familiar with the Toolkit and use it effectively.