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USPTO taps gov leaders for top spots in inclusion council

The USPTO HQ in Alexandria, Virginia

The NIST director and register of copyrights were added as co-vice chairs of the Council for Inclusive Innovation, among others

The USPTO has tapped several top government officials to serve as co-vice chairs in its Council for Inclusive Innovation, including the director of the US Copyright Office, it was announced today, September 27.

The office invited Shira Perlmutter, register of copyrights, Laurie Locascio, the director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Sethuraman Panchanathan, the National Science Foundation director to join.

It also added the commerce under-secretary for minority development, Don Cravins, and the assistant commerce secretary for economic development, Alejandra Castillo, to the council.

These government leaders will help Gina Raimondo, the secretary of commerce, and Kathi Vidal, the USPTO director, to create a national strategy for expanding inclusive innovation across the US.

According to recent data from the USPTO, only 12.8% of inventors listed on patents granted in a single year were women. The report admitted that there was little to no data on the participation of other underrepresented groups.

The council’s primary purpose is to encourage these underrepresented groups to innovate more and, where appropriate, file more patents.

Perlmutter said: “I am honoured to join the Council for Inclusive Innovation, and excited about contributing to its mission to broaden participation in the innovative and creative economy.”

Vidal said: “This step is another example of the administration’s strong support of inclusive innovation, and giving all Americans with dreams of inventing and entrepreneurship a chance to succeed.

“Our nation’s diversity is what makes us stronger and more competitive. A more inclusive and expansive intellectual property economy will create new jobs with higher wages and promote economic prosperity for all.”

The addition of government leaders was the latest effort from the USPTO to help expand the innovation ecosystem.

In July, the office announced that it had set up a programme to expedite examination of patent applications from first-time filers and launched a new innovation internship project.

The Council for Inclusive Innovation was born out of a recommendation in the USPTO's 2018 SUCCESS Act study, and a report given to Congress in 2019, which found that women and minorities were underrepresented as inventors named on US patents.

The report encouraged the creation of a high-level council of industry, academic, and government leaders tasked with increasing innovation participation.

A USPTO spokesperson said there was no immediate word on any additional members.

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