Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Patent Representation

Women are listed as the primary inventor on fewer than 8 percent of US patents, according to an analysis conducted by the Institute for Women's Policy Research. Overall, the report adds, only 18.8 percent of all patents in 2010 had at least one female inventor listed, though that's up from 3.4 percent in 1977.

This dearth of patents, the Atlantic adds, might be holding women back as other studies have found that patent ownership is a key attractant for venture capital. It notes that while women own some 36 percent of all businesses in the US, only about 3 percent of venture capital goes to women-owned businesses. Men are four times as likely as women to receive venture, it adds.

The report adds that the low representation of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields likely also affects their low numbers of patents. Of the engineering, computer science, and physical science degrees awarded in 2010, 19 percent, 20 percent, and 39 percent, respectively, were awarded to women. In the biological sciences, 58 percent of degrees went to women in 2010.

To bolster women's patenting rates, the IWPR report suggests developing systems to better track inventor demographics, encouraging employers to cover patent filing costs, supporting gender diversity in STEM fields, and boosting women's access to industry contacts and networks.

The Atlantic adds that technologies patented by teams that include women tend to do better and are cited more often in follow-up applications. This, the report says, indicates "that greater diversity may lead to the development of patents that are more useful and successful."

Filed under