The USPTO is in the midst of writing a new “report concerning patenting and entrepreneurship activities among women, minorities, and veterans” and is seeking comments (www.regulations.gov, docket number PTO-P-2020-0057).
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Issues for Comment: The USPTO seeks comments from the public that will be used to help draft a national strategy to create opportunities that will expand our innovation ecosystem to include all individuals, including those from underrepresented socioeconomic, geographic, and demographic groups. The questions below are grouped according to the categories within the broad conceptual framework outlined above for the national strategy. The USPTO welcomes answers to these questions, as well as any additional comments, from the public:
1. Inventors and entrepreneurs come from all walks of life and are not always employed by a large corporate or educational institution. How can people and organizations in the innovation ecosystem better support them?
2. Women and some minorities have not participated proportionally in the patenting of inventions. What barriers to innovation inclusion are specific to underrepresented groups? What supporting role should government organizations play in helping underrepresented groups overcome these barriers?
3. Mentoring and networking have been shown to be effective tools in supporting and encouraging underrepresented inventors and entrepreneurs. How can organizations and intellectual property practitioners in the innovation ecosystem better connect underrepresented innovators to each other and to mentors, both internally and across organizations?
4. Developing organizational metrics to document the effectiveness of diversity and inclusion initiatives is necessary to track outcomes of action plans and initiatives. What are best practices that organizations can internally employ to measure their own progress, particularly in the area of intellectual property protection?
5. Measuring national progress in realizing greater inclusion and diversity in invention, entrepreneurship, and intellectual property may take years, and it will be critical to identify complementary short- and long-term metrics that are precursors to and indicators of expanding innovation. What are some specific, meaningful, and relevant measures that can be used to:
a. Support year-over-year performance of action plans and initiatives in the short-term?
b. Demonstrate the long-term creation of diversity and inclusion in the innovation ecosystem while complementing short-term performance metrics?
6. Invention, entrepreneurship, and intellectual property protection have been shown to be concentrated in certain areas of the country and among individuals from higher socioeconomic groups. What new or existing channels could be created or utilized to more effectively deliver information and resources to prospective innovators from all demographic, geographic, and economic backgrounds?
II. Creating Innovators—Helping To Prepare People To Obtain the Skills and Develop the Interests Necessary To Become Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Entrepreneurs
7. Research has shown that “invention education”—the infusion of transdisciplinary education in problem identification and problem solving—is critical to developing innovation skills in learners. How can educational institutions at all levels (pre-kindergarten through post-graduate) successfully infuse concepts of invention, entrepreneurship, and intellectual property education into curricula?
8. To supplement formal education, how can community institutions, particularly in rural and economically disadvantaged areas, build awareness of, and skills and interests in, invention, entrepreneurship, and intellectual property among students of all ages?
9. More can be done to help teachers, even those with a formal science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) background, incorporate concepts of innovation into their teaching methods. What new or existing professional development opportunities, resources, and programs could train teachers to incorporate invention education concepts into their instruction? How could these efforts be leveraged and scaled so that similar resources and opportunities are accessible to all teachers?
III. Practicing Innovation—Harnessing Skills and Interests to the Act of Innovation
10. Recent progress in developing STEM graduates from underrepresented groups has been documented. How can similar rates of invention and entrepreneurship be attained? How can organizations best recruit and retain innovators from diverse backgrounds?
11. Inventors thrive when cultural and institutional barriers within workplaces are minimized or removed. What are examples of these barriers, and how can organizations remove them to create an inclusive, innovative workplace culture?
12. Access to information and resources is pivotal for the development of individual inventors and small businesses. How can the nation better support individual inventors and small businesses with resources so they can successfully translate their skills and creativity into the acts of invention, intellectual property protection, and entrepreneurship?
13. Another important objective is increasing diversity in the entire Start Printed Page 83908intellectual property field. What are ways of promoting diversity in the corps of intellectual property attorneys and agents who represent innovators?
IV. Realizing Innovation—Reaping the Personal and Societal Benefits of Innovation
14. Financial support is a critical element in translating an innovation into commercial success. What organizations, programs, or other efforts help promote access to capital to an expanded group of inventors and entrepreneurs—demographically, geographically, and economically?
15. Successfully commercializing an inventive product or concept requires in-depth knowledge about production processes, market forces, and other pertinent information. What types of mentoring initiatives could be implemented or expanded to help experienced entrepreneurs impart this specialized knowledge to diverse and novice inventors?
16. Formalized partnerships like tech transfer offices/conferences, accelerators, and incubators can help streamline commercialization objectives such as product development, licensing, and distribution. What can be done to make these partnerships more accessible and effective at supporting all inventors and entrepreneurs?
17. Please provide any other comments that you feel should be considered as part of, and that are directly related to, the development of a national strategy to expand the innovation ecosystem demographically, geographically, and economically.