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November 2022

Flyer with photos of Colleen Chien and other sponsors of Law Innovator Diversity Event Nov. 18

Flyer with photos of Colleen Chien and other sponsors of Law Innovator Diversity Event Nov. 18

Santa Clara University Hosts Inaugural Innovator Diversity Pilots Conference

Nov. 18 law-school event will focus on closing the “innovator-inventor gap” for women and other underrepresented groups in innovation and intellectual property.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Nov. 14, 2022—More than 350 intellectual property leaders and attendees, from industry, academia, the government and private law firms will convene online and in-person at Santa Clara University Nov. 18 to tackle the problem of lack of diversity in the innovation economy. The Innovator Diversity Pilots Conference will feature keynote remarks in person by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Kathi Vidal and remotely, by University of Chicago Professor John List (author of the Voltage Effect). It will be held in Benson Center at Santa Clara University, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara Calif., from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will also be held online via Zoom.

The event seeks to bring awareness to the problem of a severe gap between the percentage of women and minorities in the ranks of inventors—with such groups holding steeply fewer patents relative to their representation in the STEM workforce. It also seeks to highlight programs that have been successful in bridging that gap, and encourage attendees to pilot new solutions through collaboration between academia, industry and the government.

The conference is being spearheaded by professors Colleen Chien of Santa Clara University School of Law and Margo A. Bagley of Emory School of Law, and the USPTO. Increasing the percentage of Americans of all backgrounds who participate in the innovation system is critical to global economic competitiveness for the United States because of the growing need for innovation workers to meet the challenges of the day such as global climate change and improving health outcomes for all.

The conference’s focus is on piloting – temporarily introducing new practices to learn from them – and using rigorous research methods like field experiments to evaluate effectiveness. Researchers will discuss what has been tried, and what has worked to increase diversity in innovation, and in particular, to address the “innovator-inventor” gap* as defined in research by Chien: women comprise 50% of the workforce and 27% of STEM workers, but comprise only 13% of inventors, according to the USPTO’s influential Progress and Potential report, published in 2019. Gaps across many leading companies are similarly wide. 

The focus of the day will be on the work of companies and others to narrow these and other participation gaps. The inaugural Innovator Diversity Pilots Conference, part of the Innovator Diversity Pilots Initiative at Santa Clara, builds on efforts like the USIPA Increasing Diversity in Innovation Pledge, USPTO Council for Inclusive Innovation (CI2)IPO Diversity in IP Toolkit, and Santa Clara Diversity in Innovation Best Practices Guide. The aim is to foster a community of practice, bolster the evidence base for what works, and inform policy and regulatory efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in innovation and invention.

The event is co-organized by the USPTO and co-sponsored by the law schools of Santa Clara University and Emory University, the Intellectual Property Owners Association, the US Intellectual Property Alliance, the National Academy of Inventors, the Institute for Progress, the Association for University Technology Managers, Meta, the Institute for IP and Social Justice, and Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner.

For more information or to register visit the conference website

About Santa Clara University School of Law
Santa Clara University School of Law, one of the nation’s most diverse law schools, is dedicated to educating lawyers who lead with a commitment to excellence, ethics, and social justice. Santa Clara Law offers students an academically rigorous program including certificates in high tech law, international law, public interest and social justice law, and privacy law, as well as numerous graduate and joint degree options. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara Law is nationally distinguished for its faculty engagement, preparation for practice, and top-ranked programs in intellectual property. For more information, see

Media Contact
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Communications | | 408-554-5121


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