A new study funded by the National Women's Business Council finds that the number of women obtaining patents has increased significantly in recent years, with a peak in 2010.
Conducted by Delixus Inc., the study found that in 201 22,984 patents were granted to women, a 35 percent jump over the previous year. The 2009 number, 17,061, was itself a 4.5 percent increase over 2008.
These data represent preliminary findings from the study, which NWBC says is the first of its kind of explore the rates of women who apply for and receive patents in such depth. In part, this is because the U.S. Patents and Trademarks Office did not gather gender data in the past. Newly passed legislation will change that starting this year, and in the meantime researchers are determining gender by assessing each applicants' name. According to the NWBC, "just under 6 percent of the names in patent disclosures could not be identified as male or female."
"Patent and trademark ownership often is an indicator of entrepreneurial activity – and historically, women have not been a large segment of this group. A bump in IP ownership could indicate strong growth in women-owned companies," said NWBC Chair Donna James. "NWBC actively sought out this study because little research has specifically examined women business owners and intellectual property."
Image via sunver on Flickr