On February 11, 2019, the US Patent and Trademark Office released a report, “Progress and Potential: A profile of women inventors on U.S. patents”. The report evaluated trends and characteristics of US women inventors named on US patents granted from 1976 through 2016. It shows that women still comprise a small minority of patent inventors.
- The number of patents with at least one woman inventor increased from about 7% in the 1980s to 21% by 2016.
- Despite this increase, the percentage of all patent inventors that are women, or the annual “women inventor rate,” reached only 12% in 2016.
- Notable differences in the number of male and female patent inventors persist
despite greater female participation in science and engineering occupations
- Women inventor rates are higher in technology-intensive states, but also in
states where more women participate in the overall workforce.
- Women inventors are increasingly concentrated in specific technologies
and types of patenting organizations, suggesting that women are specializing
where female predecessors have patented rather than entering into male-dominated fields or firms.
- Women are increasingly likely to patent on large, gender-mixed inventor teams,
highlighting the growing importance of understanding the relationship between
gender and innovative collaboration.