On Monday, September 16, 2020, the USPTO issued a press release announcing the launch of “a major initiative aimed at expanding invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the United States.” As the USPTO describes, the initiative stems from recommendations to facilitate women and minority participation in innovation and invention because the USPTO’s own 2018 “Success Act” study found that both women and minorities were underrepresented in patents as inventors.

The USPTO’s Mission:

The NCEAI’s mission is to help the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) develop a comprehensive national strategy to increase participation in our innovation ecosystem by encouraging, empowering, and supporting all future innovators. That includes increasing the involvement of women and other underrepresented groups.

The NCEAI will strategize how to develop a comprehensive, lifelong approach that spurs interest in innovation and inventing, and then provides for increased access to the innovation ecosystem.

By encouraging, empowering, and supporting all future innovators, the NCEAI will be an important catalyst for increasing opportunity and fueling the United States’ innovation economy.

The USPTO will continually document progress toward these goals through updates such as our “Progress and Potential” report on women inventor-patentees.

This underrepresentation is, in this author’s humble opinion, a direct result of the lower representation of women and minorities in STEM education and pursuit of careers in STEM related fields, particularly computer science, engineering and mathematics, see the National Sciences Foundation 2019 report on Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering at https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsf19304/digest. The USPTO’s efforts in this initiative are applauded.

For further information, to provide feedback and/or to participate in the USPTO’s initiative, see https://www.uspto.gov/initiatives/expanding-innovation/national-council-expanding-american-innovation?MURL=ExpandingAmericanInnovation.