By: Colleen V. Chien, Professor of Law, Santa Clara University School of Law and Margo A. Bagley, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Research, Emory Law School and Hieken Visiting Professor in Patent Law, Harvard Law School (visiting Fall 2022)
Growing the percentage of Americans of all backgrounds participating in the innovation system is not only the right thing to do, it is also critical to global economic competitiveness for the United States. But currently, while women represent over 50% of the workforce and 27% of STEM workers, they comprise only 13% of inventors, according to the USPTO’s influential Progress and Potential report. A growing number of stakeholders are actively experimenting with ways to narrow these and other innovator-inventor gaps* in participation and diversify the profession. We invite you to participate in our inaugural Innovator Diversity Pilots Conference, which will build on efforts like the USIPA Increasing Diversity in Innovation Pledge, signed by over 50 leading companies, USPTO Council for Inclusive Innovation (CI2), IPO Diversity in IP Toolkit, and Santa Clara Diversity in Innovation Best Practices Guide, to foster a community of practice, bolster the evidence base for what works, and inform policy and regulatory efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in innovation and invention.
Our focus on piloting – temporarily introducing new practices to learn from them – and rigorous research methods like field experiments to evaluate effectiveness underscores that the work of diversity and inclusion is hard and requires not only a focus on results, but also iteration, refinement, humility, and collaboration.
Featuring keynote remarks by USPTO Director Kathi Vidal and Professor John List (author of the Voltage Effect), the event is co-organized by the USPTO and co-sponsored by the law schools of Santa Clara University and Emory University, the Intellectual Property Owners Association, the US Intellectual Property Alliance, the National Academy of Inventors, the Institute for Progress, the Association for University Technology Managers, Meta, the Institute for IP and Social Justice, and Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner.
This year’s all-day event will take place on Friday November 18, 2022 in-person at Santa Clara University and on-line. Remote participation is free and the program will feature the following sessions:
- The Why and How of Diversity Piloting – the case for diversity in innovation and rigorously piloting ways of advancing it, presented in part by leading economist and MacArthur Fellow Heidi Williams.
- Getting People off the Bench – Learning from Doing – companies, researchers, and the USPTO will report on diversity nudges, affinity groups, and other practices for engaging and developing diverse talent.
- Getting the Data and Tools Needed to Make Progress – how data and tools can be used, in privacy-respecting ways, to advance diversity in innovation and invention.
- Innovator Diversity Policy Pilots – initiatives at the university, agency, state, and federal, levels to develop and use evidence to advance broad-based economic growth through greater participation and inclusion in innovation and inventing.
Fireside Chat with USPTO Director Kathi Vidal: “USPTO Diversity Initiatives Changing the Innovation Ecosystem”
- Let’s Pilot Together – conference participants will draw upon research, their experience, and the proceedings to “pitch” the USPTO and other sponsoring organizations with their ideas for piloting regarding, for example, attribution practices at the Office, mentorship, and adapting the diversity pledge to the academy.
- Diversity in the Profession and Pipeline – discussion of existing and emerging initiatives and approaches like the Council for Inclusive Innovation (CI2), Patent Pipeline Program, LEAP, and the Mansfield Rule for supporting diversity in the legal profession and beyond.
Background resources and background materials are available here. We have designed the day to be informative, educational, and interactive. We hope you will join us, online or in-person.
*The Gender Innovator-Inventor Gap (source: Redefining Progress and the Case for Diversity in Innovation and Inventing)
Updated to reflect additional co-sponsors.