Diversity gaps in the U.S. patent system persist, in part, because of an absence of data on patent applicants. This lack of transparency has meant that patent holders are predominantly white, male and wealthy.
A recent study found that women, especially African-American and Latina women, obtain patents at significantly lower rates than men; people of color get approved for patents less often than white people; and individuals from lower-income families are less likely to acquire a patent than those who grew up in affluent families.
“Throughout history, women and underrepresented minorities have not been able to participate fully in each stage of the innovation process,” Lisa Cook, a professor of economics and international relations at Michigan State University.
The inclusion of these underrepresented groups would evidently also have a positive impact on the economy and would increase U.S. GDP by 2.7% per capita, and by roughly $1 trillion annually. The economic activity from patents is estimated to be over $8 trillion, more than one-third of U.S gross domestic product.