By Training Underrepresented Groups, The Inventors Patent Academy Aims to Foster More Diverse Inventor Pipeline

Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 10:02 AM CDT

Free e-learning course offers a roadmap for underrepresented inventors to pursue patents

WASHINGTON, July 6, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Invent Together today launched an online learning platform aimed at guiding inventors from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds through the benefits of the patent system and the process of turning their breakthroughs into patented inventions. Produced in collaboration with Qualcomm Incorporated and free to users, The Inventor's Patent Academy (TIPA) was designed to make patenting more accessible for groups historically excluded from patent-heavy science and engineering fields, including women, people of color, people who identify as LGBTQIA, people from lower-income communities, and people with disabilities.

"The goal of TIPA is to expand access to inventing and patenting, and when we do that, we open new doors..."

Created by patent-holding inventors, patent-law specialists and experts in social and economic equity, inclusion and diversity, the multimedia TIPA course is written from an inventor's perspective. It features the innovation and patenting experiences of inventors from diverse backgrounds and teaches users about U.S. intellectual property rights and the practical knowledge required to navigate the patenting process.

The course is presented online by Invent Together, an alliance of organizations, universities, companies, and other stakeholders dedicated to understanding the diversity gaps in invention and patenting and supporting public policy and private initiatives to close them.

"It is estimated that millions of potential American inventors from underrepresented groups are not inventing or patenting, in part, due to a dearth of accessible information and limited early exposure to inventors and invention," said Sudeepto Roy, VP, Engineering, Qualcomm Incorporated, TIPA program lead and a founding member of Invent Together.  "The lack of tailored information about the patenting process coupled with the financial barrier to entry prevents many inventors from patenting their inventions. Qualcomm and Invent Together have designed TIPA to be a solution to help increase participation by providing a free course to help people embark on their innovation journeys. In crafting this course, we were motivated by the belief that everyone can invent, and every inventor can learn to patent."

Black and Hispanic-American college graduates patent at half the rate of white college graduates, while women make up less than 13 percent of inventors who hold a U.S. patent, according to studies of patent data. Closing these gaps would promote U.S. job creation, entrepreneurial activity, economic growth, and global leadership in innovation, and estimates suggest that increasing participation by underrepresented groups in invention and patenting would quadruple the number of American inventors and increase annual U.S. gross domestic product by nearly $1 trillion.

"Thanks to the ideas of brilliant inventors, scientists, engineers and creators, the United States is an innovation powerhouse," said Invent Together Executive Director Holly Fechner. "The goal of TIPA is to expand access to inventing and patenting, and when we do that, we open new doors to opportunities, spur further innovation, create jobs, grow businesses, close wage and wealth gaps, and strengthen the U.S. position as a global innovation leader."

TIPA's "at-your-own-pace" modules explore the challenges inventors may face and provide tools needed to solve them. These include the fundamentals of how patents work, relevant patent laws and steps needed to protect inventions. Throughout the program, participants hear from real inventors about the challenges and opportunities of bringing their ideas to life.

Upon completing the first module, a course student said: "Before this course, I didn't realize that there was so much more to consider in addition to getting a patent issued. How would an inventor even know how to commercialize? The lessons answered that by offering the different options based on values and personality type. Overall, module one helps to frame the inventor's mindset. It also has therapeutic value in that it acknowledges some of the microaggressions that underrepresented people experience but don't verbalize. The lesson content validates those feelings and makes that group of people feel seen and included as innovators."

To learn more about TIPA and access the platform, visit https://inventtogether.org/tipa/.

About Invent Together

Invent Together is an alliance of organizations, universities, companies, and other stakeholders dedicated to understanding the gender, race, income, and other diversity gaps in invention and patenting and supporting public policy and private efforts to close them. www.inventtogether.com.

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