[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 247 (Wednesday, December 23, 2020)]
[Pages 83906-83908]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-28298]



Patent and Trademark Office

[Docket No. PTO-P-2020-0057]

Request for Comments on the National Strategy for Expanding 
American Innovation

AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Department of 

ACTION: Request for comments.


SUMMARY: On September 14, 2020, the United States Patent and Trademark 
Office (USPTO) hosted the inaugural meeting of the National Council for 
Expanding American Innovation (NCEAI). The NCEAI consists of 
distinguished leaders from industry, academia, government, and 
nonprofit organizations. It was organized as an outgrowth of the Study 
of Underrepresented Classes Chasing Engineering and Science Success Act 
of 2018, which charged the USPTO with preparing a report concerning 
patenting and entrepreneurship activities among women, minorities, and 
veterans. The goal of the NCEAI is to help the USPTO develop a national 
strategy to build a more demographically, geographically, and 
economically inclusive innovation ecosystem. To assist in the 
development of this strategy, the USPTO is seeking input from the 

DATES: Comment Deadline: To be ensured of consideration, written 
comments must be received by February 8, 2021.

ADDRESSES: Comments must be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking 
Portal at www.regulations.gov. To submit comments via the portal, enter 
docket number PTO-P-2020-0057 on the homepage and click ``search.'' The 
site will provide a search results page listing all documents 
associated with this docket. Find a reference to this notice and click 
on the ``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter 
or attach your comments. Attachments to electronic comments will be 
accepted in ADOBE[supreg] portable document format or MICROSOFT 
WORD[supreg] format.
    Because written comments and testimony will be made available for 
public inspection, information that a respondent does not desire to be 
made public, such as a phone number, should not be included in the 
testimony or written comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For questions or comments regarding 
this notice, please send your inquiries to [email protected], 
or telephone Janine Scianna, Office of Governmental Affairs, at 571-

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: To maintain the United States' economic 
competitiveness on the world stage, it is imperative for our nation to 
encourage individuals from all backgrounds and areas of the country to 
participate in the innovation ecosystem, particularly in obtaining 
intellectual property rights. However, research reveals patterns of 
disparity in innovation participation rates for women, people of color, 
veterans, economically disadvantaged

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people, and geographically underrepresented people. This disparity 
negatively affects the development of local communities as well as the 
social and economic well-being of the country at large. To increase 
participation in innovation by individuals from traditionally 
underrepresented groups, it is critically important to equip all 
inventors and prospective inventors, regardless of their demographic, 
geographic, or economic backgrounds, with information, resources, 
supportive communities, and opportunities. Our economy will benefit 
from a wealth of previously untapped talent when we, as a nation, 
successfully build an innovation community that more closely reflects 
the underlying diversity of our citizens.
    In its SUCCESS Act report to Congress, the USPTO announced its plan 
to create a national strategy to promote and increase participation by 
underrepresented groups in inventing and innovation. The NCEAI consists 
of leaders from every corner of the innovation ecosystem--industry, 
academia, government, and nonprofit organizations. NCEAI 
representatives will provide input to help the USPTO develop its 
national strategy to expand innovation demographically, geographically, 
and economically. This strategy will be organized by a broad conceptual 
framework that considers the entire pathway along which interest and 
expertise in innovation is cultivated in an individual. One element of 
this framework will focus on ``Creating Innovators,'' which will 
address expanding access to foundational exposure and educational 
opportunities for students and individuals of all ages and backgrounds. 
Another element will focus on ``Practicing Innovation,'' which will 
address the empowerment of all innovative individuals by providing 
adequate resources and supportive work environments to turn their ideas 
into protectable inventions. A third element will focus on ``Realizing 
Innovation,'' which will address the assurance that all innovators can 
successfully commercialize their products and services.
    Issues for Comment: The USPTO seeks comments from the public that 
will be used to help draft a national strategy to create opportunities 
that will expand our innovation ecosystem to include all individuals, 
including those from underrepresented socioeconomic, geographic, and 
demographic groups. The questions below are grouped according to the 
categories within the broad conceptual framework outlined above for the 
national strategy. The USPTO welcomes answers to these questions, as 
well as any additional comments, from the public:

I. General

    1. Inventors and entrepreneurs come from all walks of life and are 
not always employed by a large corporate or educational institution. 
How can people and organizations in the innovation ecosystem better 
support them?
    2. Women and some minorities have not participated proportionally 
in the patenting of inventions. What barriers to innovation inclusion 
are specific to underrepresented groups? What supporting role should 
government organizations play in helping underrepresented groups 
overcome these barriers?
    3. Mentoring and networking have been shown to be effective tools 
in supporting and encouraging underrepresented inventors and 
entrepreneurs. How can organizations and intellectual property 
practitioners in the innovation ecosystem better connect 
underrepresented innovators to each other and to mentors, both 
internally and across organizations?
    4. Developing organizational metrics to document the effectiveness 
of diversity and inclusion initiatives is necessary to track outcomes 
of action plans and initiatives. What are best practices that 
organizations can internally employ to measure their own progress, 
particularly in the area of intellectual property protection?
    5. Measuring national progress in realizing greater inclusion and 
diversity in invention, entrepreneurship, and intellectual property may 
take years, and it will be critical to identify complementary short- 
and long-term metrics that are precursors to and indicators of 
expanding innovation. What are some specific, meaningful, and relevant 
measures that can be used to:
    a. Support year-over-year performance of action plans and 
initiatives in the short-term?
    b. Demonstrate the long-term creation of diversity and inclusion in 
the innovation ecosystem while complementing short-term performance 
    6. Invention, entrepreneurship, and intellectual property 
protection have been shown to be concentrated in certain areas of the 
country and among individuals from higher socioeconomic groups. What 
new or existing channels could be created or utilized to more 
effectively deliver information and resources to prospective innovators 
from all demographic, geographic, and economic backgrounds?

II. Creating Innovators--Helping To Prepare People To Obtain the Skills 
and Develop the Interests Necessary To Become Innovators, Problem 
Solvers, and Entrepreneurs

    7. Research has shown that ``invention education''--the infusion of 
transdisciplinary education in problem identification and problem 
solving--is critical to developing innovation skills in learners. How 
can educational institutions at all levels (pre-kindergarten through 
post-graduate) successfully infuse concepts of invention, 
entrepreneurship, and intellectual property education into curricula?
    8. To supplement formal education, how can community institutions, 
particularly in rural and economically disadvantaged areas, build 
awareness of, and skills and interests in, invention, entrepreneurship, 
and intellectual property among students of all ages?
    9. More can be done to help teachers, even those with a formal 
science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) background, 
incorporate concepts of innovation into their teaching methods. What 
new or existing professional development opportunities, resources, and 
programs could train teachers to incorporate invention education 
concepts into their instruction? How could these efforts be leveraged 
and scaled so that similar resources and opportunities are accessible 
to all teachers?

III. Practicing Innovation--Harnessing Skills and Interests to the Act 
of Innovation

    10. Recent progress in developing STEM graduates from 
underrepresented groups has been documented. How can similar rates of 
invention and entrepreneurship be attained? How can organizations best 
recruit and retain innovators from diverse backgrounds?
    11. Inventors thrive when cultural and institutional barriers 
within workplaces are minimized or removed. What are examples of these 
barriers, and how can organizations remove them to create an inclusive, 
innovative workplace culture?
    12. Access to information and resources is pivotal for the 
development of individual inventors and small businesses. How can the 
nation better support individual inventors and small businesses with 
resources so they can successfully translate their skills and 
creativity into the acts of invention, intellectual property 
protection, and entrepreneurship?
    13. Another important objective is increasing diversity in the 

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intellectual property field. What are ways of promoting diversity in 
the corps of intellectual property attorneys and agents who represent 

IV. Realizing Innovation--Reaping the Personal and Societal Benefits of 

    14. Financial support is a critical element in translating an 
innovation into commercial success. What organizations, programs, or 
other efforts help promote access to capital to an expanded group of 
inventors and entrepreneurs--demographically, geographically, and 
    15. Successfully commercializing an inventive product or concept 
requires in-depth knowledge about production processes, market forces, 
and other pertinent information. What types of mentoring initiatives 
could be implemented or expanded to help experienced entrepreneurs 
impart this specialized knowledge to diverse and novice inventors?
    16. Formalized partnerships like tech transfer offices/conferences, 
accelerators, and incubators can help streamline commercialization 
objectives such as product development, licensing, and distribution. 
What can be done to make these partnerships more accessible and 
effective at supporting all inventors and entrepreneurs?

V. Other

    17. Please provide any other comments that you feel should be 
considered as part of, and that are directly related to, the 
development of a national strategy to expand the innovation ecosystem 
demographically, geographically, and economically.

Andrei Iancu,
Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of 
the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
[FR Doc. 2020-28298 Filed 12-22-20; 8:45 am]