[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 247 (Wednesday, December 23, 2020)]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-28298]
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
Patent and Trademark Office
[Docket No. PTO-P-2020-0057]
Request for Comments on the National Strategy for Expanding
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
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
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:
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
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
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
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?
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.
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]
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