Diversity (or lack thereof) In IP Law

Hello World!  Thanks for checking out our latest post on Diversity in IP Law.  This is a topic of discussion that comes up frequently in our firm.  We are constantly looking at ways to increase the diversity of our team and the vendors we use. 

I recently came across an article from ABA Landslide magazine that touched on the lack of diversity, especially gender diversity, in Patent Law.  Not only were some of the numbers discouraging, the lack of diversity in STEM fields has carried over to IP law.  Check out some of these numbers:

Women make up only 21.8 percent of USPTO registered attorneys and agents.  The single most alarming stat from the study is as follows:  There are more patent attorneys and agents with the first name “Michael” than there are racially diverse women.  In fact, the first racially diverse woman did not register with the USPTO until the late 1980’s.  Less than 40 years ago!  For such a diverse field of work, it is surprising to see these kind of figures.

Variety is the spice of life!  Diversity in a workforce is key to limiting turnover and keeping employees happy.  It has also been proven to have a direct correlation with higher revenues and increased market share!  While many companies continue to neglect or under-value this data, the ones who give priority to a diverse workplace will be rewarded in the end.  

While much of the data has shown the lack of growth in diversity among IP firms, there are a few figures that do point to an increase in diversity in the coming years.  2.2 percent of registrants with the USPTO since 2000 have been racially diverse women.  While that number seems small, it is obviously a massive improvement over where things were 40 years ago when the first racially diverse woman registered with the USPTO.

The team members at Burris Law are proud to have a diverse workforce in a Woman Owned Firm.  Constantly looking at the diversity in our office and figuring out ways we can increase it both within our firm and the suppliers we use.  Becoming a member of NAMWOLF has given us access to a plethora of resources from which we draw upon regularly.  In addition to NAMWOLF, we are also members of the Women Owned organization, bringing together business owners from across various industries.  Using these organizations as tools to help us increase diversity has been a tremendous resource.

Huge shout out to the firm of Harrity & Harrity, specifically Elaine Spector and LaTia Brand, for all their hard work in bringing this information to light.  Great job, the article is filled with solid data and makes many good points on different topics as they relate to diversity.  

Hopefully things continue to trend in the right direction, and we can work towards a more diverse industry of IP law.  In the meantime,  Burris Law is extremely proud to be among the leaders in diversity for boutique firms, and we are happy to blaze a trail forward that is diverse and represents the best of Detroit and America.  To the future!