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Woman Lag as Patent Holders

At Patently-O, Dennis Crouch looks into women as patent holders. He finds that, historically, only a very small number of women have obtained patents. Data from historical studies, he reports, shows:

  • 1790 to 1895: About 1% were granted to women.
  • 1905 to 1921: About 1.4% were granted to women.
  • 1954: 1.5% of issued patents included women inventors.
  • 1977: 2.6% listed one or more women as inventors.
  • 1996: 9.2% listed one or more women as inventors.

He conducted his own study of patents issued in 2006 and found not a single woman among the top 100 patent holders. This data suggests an "easy" conclusion, Crouch says:

Our patent system is not driving innovation amongst women to any significant degree.  A recent Science article teases this out in two-ways (with a focus on academic science): (1) there are more men than women working in scientific academic fields; (2) the men working science file patents at a much greater rate than do the women.

What incentives, Crouch wonders, would encourage more women inventors to enter the field? More importantly, he asks, "What barriers are in place today that work against woman inventors?"

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on December 22, 2006 at 03:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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