Closing the Gender Gap in Patenting: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial at the USPTO

42 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2022 Last revised: 3 Jan 2023

See all articles by Nicholas A. Pairolero

Nicholas A. Pairolero

United States Patent and Trademark Office

Andrew Toole

United States Patent and Trademark Office

Peter-Anthony Pappas

United States Patent and Trademark Office

Charles deGrazia

EMLV

Mike Teodorescu

University of Washington, Information School; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - D-Lab

Date Written: November 1, 2022

Abstract

Women are underrepresented in patenting and the gap is not closing quickly. One major roadblock to progress is a dearth of causal evidence on the potential effectiveness of policies to reduce the gender gap in patenting. Analyzing a randomized control trial at the United States Patent and Trademark Office that was designed to provide additional help to applicants who do not have legal representation, we find heterogeneous causal impacts across gender and technologies on the probability of obtaining patent rights. While both men and women applicants benefited, the probability of obtaining a patent was about 11 percentage points greater for women, and the effects were largest for U.S. inventors, new U.S. inventors, and in technology areas where women had the worst relative outcomes. Our results suggest that a portion of the gender gap in patenting could be eliminated through additional assistance during patent examination.

Keywords: RCT, patent, gender gap, invention, innovation

JEL Classification: O31, O34, O38, J16

Suggested Citation

Pairolero, Nicholas and Toole, Andrew A and Pappas, Peter-Anthony and deGrazia, Charles and Teodorescu, Mike, Closing the Gender Gap in Patenting: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial at the USPTO (November 1, 2022). USPTO Economic Working Paper No. 1, 2022, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4265093 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4265093

Nicholas Pairolero (Contact Author)

United States Patent and Trademark Office ( email )

Alexandria, VA
United States

Andrew A Toole

United States Patent and Trademark Office ( email )

Alexandria
VA 22313-1451
United States

Peter-Anthony Pappas

United States Patent and Trademark Office ( email )

Alexandria
VA 22313-1451
United States

Charles DeGrazia

EMLV ( email )

Paris
France
75--7 (Fax)

Mike Teodorescu

University of Washington, Information School ( email )

Box 353350
Seattle, WA 98195
United States

HOME PAGE: http://ischool.uw.edu

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - D-Lab

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Cambridge, MA 02139
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