Fact of the Week: Female Inventor Teams Filed Only 4 Percent Of All International Patents In 2015

January 25, 2017

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Although historically underrepresented, women inventors have made great strides in the past 20 years. International patent data collected by the World Intellectual Property Organization show a slowly diminishing gender gap aggregated across patent applications each year. However, this gender gap varies by country, technology fields, and scientific areas.

In 1995, entirely female inventor teams filed 2 percent of patent applications; teams made up of male and female inventors filed 15 percent of patent applications; and entirely male inventor teams filed the remaining 83 percent of international patents. Over the next 20 years, female participation in patenting doubled: In 2015, entirely female inventor teams filed 4 percent of international patent applications; teams made up of male and female inventors filed 25 percent; and entirely male teams filed the remaining 71 percent.

Examining countries with the narrowest gender gap in 2015, female inventors make up 29 percent of all Chinese inventors, 27 percent of Korean inventors, and 23 percent of Polish, Spanish, and Singaporean inventors. In the United States, they represent 14 percent of all inventors.