Black and Hispanic Women Are Less Likely to Get Patents Than Whites

In The News

By Mehr Nadeem

“The data show that people of color are particularly unlikely to hold intellectual property,” the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a Washington think tank, said in a report released on Tuesday. Overall, less than 19 percent of patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had a female inventor listed, according to the most recent data, compiled in 2015.

The report found that “despite being less likely to hold intellectual property rights than men, women-owned businesses still report actively engaging in innovative activities and generally do so at rates at least as high as men-owned business.”

“Innovation is how we come up with solutions to the most pressing challenges that are facing our society today,” said Jessica Milli, one of the report’s co-authors. Without input from all sexes and ethnic groups, some issues get overlooked and “you get solutions that only work for a small portion of the population.”

The report also shows that there is a link between patents and the success of a business. The under-representation of women is therefore “troubling because their limited access to that process holds them back, to some extent, from realizing their full potential,” Milli said.

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