The number of women obtaining patents has grown at an accelerating rate over the past 35 years and in numbers considerably higher than previously reported, a new study commissioned by the National Women's Business Council has found.
In 2010, when 22,984 patents were granted to women, a 35 percent jump over the previous year, according to the NWBC study.
In 2009, women received 17,061 patents, a 4.5 percent increase over the 16,321 issued in 2008.
The details are part of the preliminary findings from an extensive review of patents granted between 1975 and 2010 by the U.S. Patents and Trademarks Office.
Study to determine the rates of women who apply for and receive patents
NWBC commissioned a private research company, Delixus, Inc., to conduct the study to determine the rates of women who apply for and receive patents. The study, which also will examine data on women with trademarks, is the first of its kind to explore this issue in depth, mainly because federal patent and trademark applicants did not ask for gender information. Newly-passed legislation will allow USPTO to start tracking gender data this year.
Research on intellectual property can help shed light on the potential growth of women-owned businesses, said NWBC Chair Donna James.
Patent and trademark ownership often is an indicator of entrepreneurial activity
"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," James said. "NWBC actively sought out this study because little research has specifically examined women business owners and intellectual property."