America’s long-standing economic prosperity and global technological leadership depend on a strong and vibrant innovation ecosystem. To maximize the nation’s potential, it is critically important that all Americans have the opportunity to innovate, seek patent protection for their inventions, start new companies, succeed in established companies, and achieve the American dream.
The Study of Underrepresented Classes Chasing Engineering and Science Success (SUCCESS) Act of 2018 directed the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), in consultation with the administrator of the Small Business Administration, to prepare a report that:
- Identifies publicly available data on the number of patents annually applied for and obtained by women, minorities, and veterans
- Identifies publicly available data on the benefits of increasing the number of patents applied for and obtained by women, minorities, and veterans and the small businesses owned by them
- Provides legislative recommendations for how to promote the participation of women, minorities, and veterans in entrepreneurship activities and increase the number of women, minorities, and veterans who apply for and obtain patents.
Final report to Congress
The USPTO's SUCCESS Act report was transmitted to Congress on October 31, 2019. Among its major findings:
- A review of literature and data sources found that there is a limited amount of publicly available information regarding the participation rates of women, minorities, and veterans in the patent system.
- The bulk of the existing literature focuses on women, with a very small number of studies focused on minorities, and only some qualitative historical information on U.S. veteran inventor-patentees.
- One of the most comprehensive studies focused on women inventor-patentees is "Progress and Potential: a profile of women inventors on U.S. patents," a report published by the USPTO in February 2019. It found that 12% of all inventor-patentees in 2016 were women, up from 5% in the mid-1980s.
- Overall, there is a need for additional information to determine the participation rates of women, minorities, and veterans in the patent system.
- The report concludes with a list of six new USPTO initiatives and five legislative recommendations for increasing the participation of women, minorities, and veterans as inventor-patentees and entrepreneurs.
The USPTO held three public hearings to obtain comments regarding the participation of women, minorities, and veterans in the patent system and entrepreneurial activities. A Federal Register Notice provides additional information about the public hearings.
The USPTO solicited written comments from the public regarding the participation of women, minorities, and veterans in the patent system and entrepreneurial activities.