A new report released this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) shows that the proportion of female inventors reapplying for a patent within five years of first filing is on the rise,media CNET reported. The situation of women in the patent field has improved since the 1980s, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. At that time, only 28 percent of women applied again within five years of their first patent application, compared with 38 percent of men. In 2019, that number has jumped to 46 per cent of women, compared with 52 per cent of men, indicating that the gender gap is narrowing.
According to a report released Tuesday entitled “Progress of Female Inventors in the United States – Patenters and Potential 2020 Updates”: “All Americans must have access to individual and commercial interests that apply for and receive patent protection.”
While these figures are encouraging, overall, female inventors are still in the minority. If you look at the patent of at least one woman as an inventor, by 2019, women will be 21.9 percent, up from 20.7 percent in 2016. While more and more women are filing patents, the proportion of new female inventors is 17.3 percent, up slightly from 16.6 percent in 2016.
The situation of female inventors is another aspect of efforts to recruit and retain women into STEM. According to the American Association of University Women, women make up about 28 percent of the U.S. STEM workforce. In its 2019 report, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office talks about the idea of a “lost Einstein”, meaning that over time, all women can make an important contribution if they have the same contacts, visits, and opportunities as men in history in everything from education to visible role models.
“To maintain our nation’s strength as a global leader in innovation, we need to participate more broadly in patents,” Andrei Iancu, vice president of commerce for intellectual property and director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, said in a statement.
The report also provides additional details about female inventors. For example, 41% of people are in California, Massachusetts, New York, or Texas. Between 2007 and 2019, Washington, D.C., had the highest average female inventor rate at 19.2 percent, while North Dakota had the lowest, at 8.3 percent.