I previously mentioned the IDEA Act (S.632) that is pending before the Senate. The proposal would have the PTO collect demographic information about patent inventors. This includes “including gender, race, military or veteran status, and any other demographic category that the Director determines appropriate.” The information is to be kept confidential and away from the application file (so that examiners are not biased).The proposal states that the collection is “voluntary . . . [information] related to each inventor … may be submitted voluntarily by that inventor.”
Sen. Ted Cruz proposed an amendment that would require written consent from the inventor before a patent applicant submitted the demographic information. In addition, the proposed amendment would have prohibited employers from retaliating against an employee who refused to provide demographic information. The video below shows the hearing where this is all discussed:
Cruz’s amendment was not adopted, and the proposal passed through the judiciary committee. It will next move to the senate floor for consideration.