IDEA Act of 2021

The first step in a non-discriminatory US patent system is to make sure it is available to all Americans without legal limit.  The second step, and the one with real potential to drive an innovation economy, is to takes steps to ensure that the system is inspiring to all Americans.  The trick is how to get there without causing undue damage.  One underlying issue is also a lack of information about what’s really happening.

A bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives have re-introduced the IDEA Act. (Inventor Diversity for Economic Advancement (IDEA) Act of 2021).  S.632; H.R.1723.   Right now, the USPTO does not ask inventors their for any demographic information other than contact information and country of residence.  The legislation would require the PTO director to collect  inventor-level information on “gender, race, military or veteran status, and any other demographic category that the Director determines appropriate.”  Under the provision, inventors would not be required to submit the information, and any submissions would be kept “confidential and separate from the application.”  However, disaggregated information could be available for data analysis and for an annual report from the PTO.

  • S.632. Sponsor: Sen. Hirono; Cosponsors: Sens. Tillis, Coons, Leahy, Grassley.
  • H.R.1723. Sponsor. Rep. Velazquez; Cosponsor, Rep Stivers.

The proposals are now before the respective judiciary committees.  Sen. Leahy is the chair of the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, and Sen. Tillis is the ranking member.   In the House, Intellectual Property does not have its own committee this session, but rather is part of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet chaired by Rep. Johnson. Rep. Issa is the ranking member.

48 thoughts on “IDEA Act of 2021

  1. 8

    On a slightly different thought tangentially related topic, what do you learned bros think about the “true inflation rate” actually being like 7% annually (if we include things like housing increases, college tuition increases etc. that are apparently usually left out of inflation calcs)? If anything? Have you even heard about it? I was just hearing about it the other day on the jimmy dore show and looked it up and indeed this seems to perhaps be the case.

    It really hit home for me, as I was just looking at maybe buying some property in my city I’m in and boy prices have super exploded here in this city, just in the last 4 years. I shoulda bought when I moved here and I’d be up almost double what I paid most likely.

    Is this not a scandal that impacts the downtrodden communities much more than whatever patent x y or z that is happening? Although it affects almost everyone it seems like it would hurt them the most as inflation is basically a regressive to the extreme indirect “tax”.

    1. 8.1

      Inflation is also debt deflation, so while people holding fixed income assets take the big haircut, many others find themselves in improved circumstances. Inflation hurts rich people more than poor people, which is why its so loathed.

      But deflation is worse – more dangerous, more long lasting, and more difficult to tame. We have been fighting deflation for the past 40 ish years. Better to overshoot a little toward inflation than toward deflation.

      Our grandparents spent 160 million on the Hoover Dam. You couldn’t paint it for that money today.

      1. 8.1.1

        “Inflation hurts rich people more than poor people, which is why its so loathed.”

        Citation needed.

        You say that, but it’s pretty obvious that someone making min wage is “hurt” by inflation much much more than a millionaire, esp if min wage isn’t even raised and if they don’t get a raise while inflation is going up and up, and where we’re talking about a decade. And that is especially if we’re not talking about 2.5 ish percent inflation and are instead discussing what I’m discussing here which is called the “true inflation rate” by some, and is likely closer to 7 percent.

        Do you have any thoughts on the “true inflation rate” or not bro?

        See this guy and many others talking about the true inflation rate:

        link to

        “But deflation is worse – more dangerous, more long lasting, and more difficult to tame. We have been fighting deflation for the past 40 ish years. Better to overshoot a little toward inflation than toward deflation.”

        I’m discussing something different than the 2.5ish percent of supposed inflation. I’m specifically talking about something people are trying to call the “true inflation rate” (which some people say has been around 7% per year for the last decade) where the calculation to calculate this inflation rate includes costs of housing/rent/buying a house and school tuition for yourself or kids. Those things are usually not included when calculating the 2.5ish percent numbers people usually see. I’m not discussing how bad deflation is or the federal reserve’s “fight” against it.


          I’m not going to cite every example to be found, but here are a few

          link to

          link to

          Generally, capitalism has worked well in the postwar era- in the ’50’s America enjoyed cheap(ish) and abundant housing, education, energy, and healthcare but craved cheap (ish) manufactured goods, textiles, served-food, and entertainment. Lo and behold, we got what we wanted, but we lost what we had. That may change back, in time, because freedom.

          Housing, outside of certain markets, has not accelerated all that much, nor has the total cost per mile of transportation, which are the two biggest drivers of household budgets. The assumption that wages won’t rise in an inflationary environment is based on what? Why wouldn’t they rise? Stagflation is a different animal- we aren’t seeing that with the current projected growth rates. Firms that can raise prices and raise wages- what matters to them is the ratio, not the actual values.

          In what areas are prices currently substantially constrained? Do you want to address the proposition that the danger of deflation is much more fearsome ?

    2. 8.2

      There is something called “inflation-proofing”. Like with a pension contract. But what does that mean? You can manipulate the “rate” of inflation to suit your purposes, simply by changing the content of the “shopping basket” of products which is the basis for monitoring how quickly prices are rising.

      So if a government pays unemployment benefit and decides it can’t afford to go on raising it each year, in line with “inflation” it can simply change the definition of the hypothetical “shopping basket” to get to the desired result. One simply asserts that the existing definition of basket content is no longer in line with what the modern consumer actually purchases.

    3. 8.3

      “it seems like it would hurt them the most as inflation is basically a regressive to the extreme indirect “tax”.”

      This isn’t clear to me, one way or the other. I don’t know if it can be meaningfully answered without assumptions about how wages react. It also seems likely that the answer is specific to where on the income distribution you are.

      “the “true inflation rate” actually being like 7% annually (if we include things like housing”

      I would be immediately suspicious of anyone asserting a national inflation rate based on highly localized factors like housing.

  2. 7

    Anyone know if it would place a duty on practitioners to ask inventors for the demographic information?

      1. 7.1.1


        Not a trick question, albeit answers may be tricky under Admin Law, and the limited authority that this particular Administrative Agency operates under (as is typically dictated by its charter).


          RE: “Under the provision, inventors would not be required to submit the information”

          If that is really true, I don’t see how there could be a corresponding duty to ask for (or provide) the desired info. And I don’t see practitioners wasting billable time (and thus their client’s money) with this otherwise voluntary submission.


          Further to my comment immediately above:

          One way to ensure adequate collection of the voluntary information is to offer an incentive, say a discount on filing fees for those who provide it.

  3. 6

    I read all this in total amazement. Don’t know about identity politics. It looks to me more like Empty Gesture Posturing Politics. I mean, the provision of the information on gender etc is optional, but it will be collected, and conclusions drawn from it. What’s the point of drawing conclusions from dodgy skewed unreliable data? The risk is that it does more harm than good, I would think.

    1. 6.1

      “Empty Gesture Posturing Politics”

      That’s technically what it is, the business rulers of the country making empty social gestures to the masses to keep them distracted from $$$ so that the business class can gobble up the $$$. And this initiative/bill is just more of the same.

  4. 5

    It is indisputable that a black inventor in Atlanta in 1950 would have faced many barriers to obtaining a patent because of racial bias.

    Those barriers may all be gone in 2021 but it is not unreasonable to check.

    I imagine those who believe all the racial barriers are long gone will be eager to reply and state the year the last barriers disappeared in the patent business to demonstrate the ‘uselessness’ of this effort.

    1. 5.1

      Slashdot those barriers are not even close to being long gone. And that’s assuming you are starting with an inventor with an invention in hand seeking a patent, rather than the barriers to even getting that far.

      We have had an entrenched caste system, in one form or another, for the entire history of the nation, and that will not just end because it’s no longer legally sanctioned or because a faction of the polity wants it to end.

      It will take several generations to mitigate the racial basis of that system, but there are no guarantees that a replacement bottom caste will not be found nor even that the racial aspect will be effectively mitigated. By reasonable objective measurement, the barriers or their effects remain today.

      WT Eff is a Leftist, anyway? I like guns and the US Flag. I hate identity politics. But I also hate manifest injustice.

    2. 5.2

      There are some who would dispute it.

      There is at least one here who will tell you that affirmative action is “the same ev!l” as sl@very and J!m Crow.

      1. 5.2.1

        RacISM is RacISM.

        Only a f00l thinks otherwise.

        Let’s not pretend that I have ever said that the degrees have been exactly the same.

        Once again, when he veers away from patent law into the deep Liberal Left, AAA JJ loses all ability to actually apply reason.


          Didn’t mention your name, but you came running. I wonder why that is. (Not really, I know why.)

          You can’t address the effects of 246 years of slavery and 90+ years of fourth class citizenship by passing a bill and announcing “Ok, we won’t discriminate anymore!”

          Only a fool thinks otherwise. That makes you a fool.


            You wonder why?

            Maybe because I have always been quick to point out how you
            whenever any Liberal Left notion arises.

            Your ability to apply reason simply goes “bye bye.”

  5. 4

    . . . and here comes the creation of yet another strawman “gap” for insincere or confused folks to bandy about for their own selfish purposes.

    In 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

    Why, oh, why are the demographics of the inventors who either can’t obtain — or who have taken away — their hard-fought patents . . . more important than being sure they CAN obtain — and can KEEP — their patents?

  6. 3

    Any such collected inventor personal information should be kept inaccessible to examiners [as it is now], to avoid discrimination accusations.

    1. 3.1

      The point was brought up previously that identity cannot be shielded from the examiner due (iirc) to the need to search for the inventor’s prior work.

      Once identity is known, identify politics will only follow.

      1. 3.1.1

        I think paul means that the info that is being collected by this bill (race, gender etc) not the inventor names. And I’m not sure why paul brought this up as it’s already in the bill apparently.

      2. 3.1.2

        All politics is identity politics. It is only called “identity politics” when it benefits someone you do not identify with.


          All politics is identity politics.

          Absolutely False.

          Identity politics is actually a relatively new phenomenon and is largely a vehicle of Neo-Liberalism.

          The use of the label has nothing to do with your assertion of “when it benefits someone you do not identify with.”


            “Identity politics is actually a relatively new phenomenon”

            I mean, you say that, but … cites::

            immigration laws requiring white people of “good character” (and in some places white protestants) to be immigrants.

            before that religious restrictions on various immigrations that happened were fairly common etc. etc. Many groups got expelled from nations, various christians (many in roman times), muslims (reconquista, bosnia iirc, india), jews (many nations) etc. etc.

            And that’s setting aside bazillions of other little laws that privileged one group over another, or nobels over plebs etc. etc.


              ISMs are as old as mankind.

              Identity politics is a term of art, and involves the use of ISMs as a tactic.

              May I suggest that you do a bit of reading on Neo-Liberalism, 6.

              I do believe that you will find some highly resonating material there.


                I know quite a bit about neo liberalism for surez. Have done much reading about it and seen much about it. And hear about this or that about it from far right and far left critics/journos all the time (like jimmy dore if you guys know and love his show). Though that term gets used more for economic discussions, it does impact somewhat on multi-culti and ID things a bit.

                I understand generally what you’re talking about, but even using “the victim card”, or the light version thereof, which results from this or that ism as a tactic is quite old. Yes, new school leftists have found a way to apply it in a somewhat new fangled, somewhat more powerful way in the evil “Free” lands, in the waning years of christianity when people are desperate for a morality to fit their times and circumstances. And did so in a way somewhat friendly to liberalism and business through neoliberal concepts etc. But they’ve just adapted a very old trick. Much of this is a play on what was known as old church ladyism (social enforcement of morality this or that) prior to the present day, and known as still other things around the world. And people would play off of the church lady socially enforcing morality to use their victim card, or get special treatment etc.


            You only say this because for the majority of your life, the identity that has benefited from identity politics is your own.


              Plus, I fully doubt that you have an inkling as to just whom benefits from identity politics.


                The overall winners of identity politics thus far have been the wealthy with the money to buy the kind of the identify politics they want.

                You’re right, I don’t know what your identity is. However, I just know that identity politics are often invisible to the beneficiaries identity politics. To them, it is just politics.

                1. You clearly think the term means something narrower than what it actually means.

                2. It is a term of art – and not by my choosing. You seem to want to ignore that and use it any fashion that you want to.

                  That’s why your statements are meaningless.

  7. 2

    What a waste of time and resources to racialize inventorship. Innovation has no color.

    If what you want is individuals to have economic incentive to participate in the patent system, they need to see individuals and small businesses winning. Large verdicts and settlements. Large damages awards against Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google-types for infringing. Enhanced damages for willfulness; real disincentive for infringing conduct. Fewer invalidations. More certainty from courts. Judges sympathetic to individual inventors. Injunctions, to spur investments in start-ups. Not only the one-off Josh Malone who could afford $20M in legal fees or the VirnetX who fights for a decade. Regular people, of any color, who access the system and benefit from it.

    Fix 101. Spend time on that, Congress. Maybe we should posit that Alice and IPRs are racist, and maybe then you’d pay attention.

    1. 2.2

      “What a waste of time and resources to racialize inventorship”

      Bruh, leftists gotta leftism. Corporatist r’s gotta bend the knee to leftism.

    1. 1.1

      It won’t be bland when vice is running constant articles about how the oppression of the white man is stopping all the brave innovation in x y z groups (see citation to newest 2025 USPTO nums).

    2. 1.2

      If you are not paying attention, the drumbeat of propaganda is like the adage of the slowly boiled frog. To that frog, the incremental heat certainly seemed bland.

Comments are closed.