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.

Key Findings:

  • 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
    and entrepreneurship.
  • 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.

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