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WASHINGTON—Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Chair of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Council for Inclusive Innovation (CI2), and Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director Kathi Vidal, Vice Chair of CI2, today announced the addition of new Co-Vice Chairs of the Council. The new leaders include:
- Alejandra Castillo, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development
- Don Cravins, Jr., Under Secretary of Commerce for Minority Business Development
- Laurie E. Locascio, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Director
- Sethuraman Panchanathan, National Science Foundation (NSF) Director
- Shira Perlmutter, Register of Copyrights and Director of the U.S. Copyright Office
In this role, the government leaders will join Secretary Raimondo and Director Vidal in guiding the Council in developing a national strategy for expanding innovation to build a more inclusive and expansive innovation ecosystem. According to recent data from the USPTO, only 12.8% of inventors listed on patents granted in a single year are women, with little to no data on the participation of other underrepresented groups. According to the latest report from the USPTO on intellectual property (IP) and the economy, industries that intensively utilize intellectual property protection account for over 41% of U.S. gross domestic product and employ one-third of the total U.S. workforce. Workers in IP-intensive industries earn 60% higher weekly wages on average versus those in other industries.
“I am excited to welcome these incredible leaders in government to serve on the Board of CI2 where they will bring their extensive experience supporting U.S. businesses and inventors to create a more inclusive and expansive innovation ecosystem,” said Secretary Raimondo. “The leadership of CI2 will provide a whole-of-government approach and collaborate with private and non-profit partners to devise a strategy that will ensure more Americans from more communities have a fair shot to participate in and benefit from innovation.”
“This step is another example of the Administration’s strong support of inclusive innovation, and giving all Americans with dreams of inventing and entrepreneurship a chance to succeed,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Kathi Vidal. “Our nation’s diversity is what makes us stronger and more competitive. A more inclusive and expansive intellectual property economy will create new jobs with higher wages and promote economic prosperity for all—from those in all socio-economic classes as well as veterans, youth, retirees, to those who identify as diverse. I am proud to serve with Secretary Raimondo, Assistant Secretary Castillo, Under Secretary Cravins, Directors Locascio and Panchanathan, Register Perlmutter, and all the Council members to expand innovation and bring more innovation to impact.”
The government leaders will work with Council members—executives from industry, academic, non-profit, and government—to develop a National Innovation Strategy and to drive fast, sustainable change. The leaders recently met to discuss concrete objectives and collaborations to move CI2 forward.
“I am honored to be a part of this movement to fuel the next generation of diverse innovators and entrepreneurs,” said Alejandra Y. Castillo, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “We need everyone to transform our economy to remain competitive. Women, veterans and others from underrepresented communities must be included—not only because they bring important perspectives but also because it is imperative to ensure that economic prosperity reaches all pockets of our country.”
“The Biden Administration understands that to strengthen our nation’s standing as the global leader in innovation, we must ensure every American has equitable access to create,” said Don Cravins, Jr., Under Secretary of Commerce for Minority Business Development. “America’s entrepreneurs and inventors of color continue to catapult our nation to new heights, often despite historic imbalances in economic opportunity. CI2 will help our nation do a better job of fully realizing our innovation potential. I am honored to serve on CI2 under Secretary Raimondo and Director Vidal’s leadership and alongside my fellow CI2 Co-Vice Chairs.”
“As a female STEM inventor and entrepreneur myself, I am proud to be a part of an effort that will foster an inclusive U.S. innovation ecosystem, in which everyone feels invited, welcomed and supported,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Laurie E. Locascio. “We need to ensure that good ideas—no matter where they originate—can become the products and services that support a strong American economy for all.”
“Anchored by cutting-edge research and an unmatched diversity of ideas, the U.S. has led global innovation for generations,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. “At a time of intense competition, U.S. economic leadership is at risk if many Americans—and their insights—are left out of the innovation ecosystem. NSF is proud to work through CI2 and our array of agency initiatives, such as our Innovation Corps and Regional Innovation Engines, to recruit entrepreneurial minds from every corner of our nation and remove barriers that have hindered the entrepreneurial spirit.”
“I am honored to join the Council for Inclusive Innovation, and excited about contributing to its mission to broaden participation in the innovative and creative economy,” said Register of Copyrights and U.S. Copyright Office Director Shira Perlmutter. “As the Copyright Office works to make the copyright system accessible to all, we look forward to collaborating with our colleagues to develop new ways to support and empower individuals in all fields of science and the arts.”
The USPTO recently announced new initiatives under CI2 to expand innovation and promote jobs and economic prosperity, including a program to expedite examination of patent applications from first-time filers and a new innovation internship program. The internship program recently blew past its cap of 500 applications in just a few days. The agency plans to announce further initiatives in the months ahead.
CI2 and its forerunner, the National Council for Expanding American Innovation (NCEAI), were formed out of a recommendation in the USPTO’s 2018 SUCCESS Act study and report that aimed to increase the participation and development of women, veterans, and underrepresented groups as inventors and entrepreneurs.
For additional information on the Council, including the full list of Council members, see the USPTO’s CI2 webpage.