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USPTO requests comments to build more inclusive innovation ecosystem

January 07, 2021
By: Kevin Michel

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a request for comments regarding the development of a national strategy to build a more demographically, geographically and economically inclusive innovation ecosystem. The request is a follow up to the inaugural meeting of the National Council for Expanding American Innovation (NCEAI), which first met virtually in September 2020. The council consists of industry leaders, academics, and scientists and will help guide the development of USPTO’s national strategy.

The request outlines a set of questions grouped by general themes such as “Creating Innovators” and “Practicing Innovation.” Responses by the public to these questions will provide USPTO and NCEAI with a broad overview of what those in the innovation economy would like to see changed and contribute to the development of the national strategy. Comments are due by Feb. 8, 2021.

The USPTO has seen renewed energy for crafting the conditions that allow for more diverse and representative patent applicants. The Study of Underrepresented Classes Chasing Engineering and Science Success (SUCCESS) Act, which passed in 2018, required the USPTO to study and report on the number of patents applied for and obtained by women, minorities and veterans. It was determined that the agency was not collecting enough demographic information on their patent applications to make conclusions regarding its inclusivity. Following this, the House Committee on Small Business pushed the USPTO to report on its inclusivity and diversity in patenting at a January 2020 hearing. This request for comments is the first step taken by the USPTO to fulfill the full requirements of the SUCCESS Act and respond to congressional oversight.