Demystifying the patent system

Expanding Innovation -- silhouettes of people and illustrations of ideas

Why is it important to understand how the patent system works?

Innovation in the United States is highly concentrated—based on demographic characteristics, geography, and economic conditions—and underrepresented groups are not fully participating. For example, a recent study from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) found that in 2016 only 12% of inventors named on U.S. patents are women.

In October 2019, the USPTO published a report to Congress on the Study of Underrepresented Classes Chasing Engineering and Science Success (SUCCESS) Act. The report highlights the need for accessible resources explaining the patent process. The USPTO offers a variety of resources, including this new toolkit, to demystify the patent process, thereby alleviating some obstacles and encouraging more participation.

Individual inventor toolkit

A resource for people who want to protect their own inventions.

Download the individual inventor toolkit

Independent inventor resources

We have lots of resources to help independent inventors and small business owners strengthen their intellectual property repertoire. Here are just a few: 

Request a USPTO speaker

Interested in having USPTO leadership speak at your event about intellectual property? Fill out our speaker request form.

Submit a USPTO speaker request