Wednesday 26 August 2020

Diversity in Startups and Inventing Patented Developments

The Creator Fund has released a report titled, “State of Student Startups,” concerning university student involvement at around 545 startups in the UK.  Notably, the report states that Covid-19 has not slowed down student engagement in startups.  Moreover, some interesting statistics are that around 57% of students involved in university startups are foreign born, and pretty close to half of students involved in university startups are BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) and are women.  Over 60% of the startups at Oxford and Cambridge “have at least one BAME founder.”  These data are very heartening given some of the other statistics about the lack of some racial and ethnic minorities and female involvement in inventing.  Indeed, in the United States, the United States Patent and Trademark Office relatively recently released a report stating that women are still not represented similarly to their percentage of the overall population in inventing demonstrated by patents (around 20%); although, the percentage of women participating as inventors is increasing.  Here are the USPTO’s report’s major findings:

  • More women are entering and staying active in the patent system than ever before.
  • The number of patents with at least one woman inventor increased from 20.7% in 2016 to 21.9% by the end of 2019.
  • The “Women Inventor Rate” (WIR) – the share of U.S. inventors receiving patents who are women – increased from 12.1% in 2016 to 12.8% in 2019.
  • The share of women among new inventors on issued patents increased from 16.6% in 2016 to 17.3% by 2019.
  • The gender gap in the number of women inventors who remain active by patenting again within five years is decreasing. For new inventors in 2014, 46% of women patented again in the next five years versus 52% of men (by 2019). In 1980, the gap was 28% for women versus 38% for men. 
  • Among the leading patent filers, the 3M Company showed the largest improvement in the participation of women inventor-patentees: Their average WIR increased from 15.2% over 2007-2016 to 16.6% for 2007-2019. 

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