Facebook is committing to increase diversity in patenting, and extend support for underrepresented inventors in tech.
As part of its Increasing Diversity in Innovation conference — Facebook is looking to support inventors and innovators in tech with a new patent program that promotes the progress of science and technology – progress it knows “would be impossible without diverse perspectives that represent the ways our products are used around the world.”
In line with this, Facebook’s Patents, Licensing and Open Source Team helped create a pledge to increase support for underrepresented inventors in tech and recruited more than 20 organizations to sign it.
This Pledge to Increase Diversity in Inventorship was announced on the first day of its Increasing Diversity in Innovation conference, a four-day event organized by Facebook with the US Intellectual Property Alliance, and UC Berkeley.
The conference brought together leaders from government, academia, and technology, who presented sessions focusing on unconscious bias, systemic inequity in the patent process, techniques for reaching diverse inventors, and the importance of innovation.
During the conference, attendees signed the pledge, committing to implement changes within their organizations to support underrepresented inventors with a three-year plan. The commitment also brings the participating companies to learn about one or more groups of underrepresented inventors, as well as identify ways to promote equitable opportunities for those groups.
In addition to this, attendees also committed to anonymously report data such as their number of unique underrepresented inventors on patent applications.
Facebook has been involved in initiatives aimed at achieving gender parity in patenting for some time. The company is creating a spotlight for its prolific female inventors and aims to better understand the barriers women face during the patent process.
Facebook has also been piloting small-group brainstorming sessions for women inventors. Now it wants to expand these sessions to other groups of underrepresented inventors, as well as create a mentorship program of women supporting women through the patent process.
The resulting metrics coming out of the initiative will be shared publicly by the company’s female inventors in the coming year.