Council for Inclusive Innovation (CI2) Initiatives

Council for Inclusive Innovation (CI2) banner, depicting photographs of women, men and children, that may be considered under-represented in the Intellectual Property community.

About us

The United States Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) Council for Inclusive Innovation (CI) works to increase participation in the innovation ecosystem, which includes intellectual property (IP), by communities that are typically underrepresented. To support this mission, we are developing new initiatives to bolster participation in innovation, including entrepreneurship and invention, by those historically left on the outside of such pursuits. Our goal is to strengthen economic competitiveness for all Americans by collaborating on these and other initiatives with like-minded organizations.

Current initiatives

Diversity Information Platform

Our Diversity Information Platform (DI Platform) is a free, easy-to-use, interactive tool to view and share diversity data within the innovation ecosystem. The DI Platform is accessible within your web browser and is a valuable resource to foster inclusiveness in America’s intellectual property landscape.

Dynamic maps and charts let you view diversity trends and demographics among 100+ industries and across the United States. Customizable charts help you to compare your organization’s diversity to industry benchmarks. Finally, guides on best practices provide you with resources to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion. Data can be filtered by year, gender, and race. Maps, charts, and data sets can be downloaded for reports, presentations, apps, and further research.

Innovation internship program

We aim to teach the next generation the value of innovation and protecting IP and encourage a more inclusive talent pipeline. To that end, CI2 is helping the USPTO establish paid internships to provide hands-on training to community college and university students.

These interns will learn about the USPTO’s role in protecting IP. The interns will also learn about the USPTO’s work in granting patents and trademarks, as well as other work to foster innovation.

First-time filer expedited examination pilot program

The USPTO receives approximately 40,000 patent applications annually that name at least one inventor who is a first-time application filer. For some first-time filers, speeding up the process of securing a patent could accelerate their ability to receive a return on their investment—by starting companies, securing capital, and creating jobs.

This new fast-track program will provide expedited examination and early indication of patentability for such first-time filers. It will include extra support, including required training. The program launched on March 9, 2023 with the publication in the federal register notice.  Please visit the First-Time Filer Expedited Examination Pilot Program page for more information on this initiative.

Expansion of free legal services 

By expanding access to free (“pro bono”) legal services, we can assist more underresourced innovators, protect their ideas, and bring them to market. To that end, we are expanding both our Law School Clinic Certification Program and our support of our regional Patent Pro Bono Program.

The Law School Clinic Certification Program includes more than 60 participating clinics that provide legal services at no charge to inventors and small-business owners. We also support 21 regional pro bono patent attorney programs nationwide through the Patent Pro Bono Program and look to increase that number.

Community outreach campaign

Our team consists of over 12,000 USPTO employees nationwide, each bringing a wealth of experience and expertise that can significantly benefit underserved and underresourced communities in their journey toward innovation, entrepreneurship, and understanding how to safeguard their intellectual property (IP).

In February of 2024, we launched the pilot for IP Champions, a visionary initiative designed for USPTO employees eager to volunteer their specialized knowledge for public education on the critical importance of IP. This program aims to elevate IP literacy and foster inclusive IP engagement across all sectors. IP Champions is a strategic extension of the extensive outreach efforts already undertaken by the USPTO and our partners, reinforcing our commitment to democratizing IP knowledge and participation.

More about inclusive innovation

Visit our inclusive innovation page to find more information on IP resources that support the innovators of tomorrow.

Contact Us

Please email us at for more information, or if you want to join us or share ideas about expanding innovation.