Equity in Innovation: Overcoming Barriers to Women Engaging in Innovation and the Patent System (2020)
Join Technology Development and Arrows to explore the barriers women face in innovation and the patent system. The event will feature a keynote from Laura Peter, Deputy Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), followed by a panel discussion with Deputy Director Peter, Biomedical Engineering Professor Joyce Wong, and patent attorney Susanna Benn. The keynote and panel will explore questions to include:
- How can we mitigate the “leaky pipeline” to inventorship?
- Are there university programs that have proven effective in advancing the role of women in IP and/or improving gender parity in the patent process?
- How can women inventors optimize their outcomes when they file an application with the USPTO?
- Is there bias in review? How can we recognize that bias and effectively address it?
- What resources and tools are available to female innovators who wish to engage with the USPTO?
Laura Peter is the Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). She is the principal advisor to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, and responsible for all agency operations. This includes oversight for the four USPTO Regional Offices, managing 13,000 employees, and executing the policies, priorities and programs for an annual budget of $3.5 billion.
Prior to joining the USPTO, Ms. Peter was the Deputy General Counsel of A10 Networks, a publicly-traded IT company where she oversaw daily legal matters related to commercial agreements, litigation, and intellectual property (IP) portfolio development. In 2014, she helped shepherd the company through its initial public offering.
Recognized by World IP Review as one of the most “Influential Women in IP,” Peter has practiced IP law for over 20 years. Previously, she was Vice President and General Counsel of Immersion Corporation, where she led all aspects of the company’s legal issues, including its IP portfolio. She was also Assistant General Counsel and Director of Intellectual Property at Foundry Networks, where she built a successful patent portfolio and litigation program. She began her career as a commercial and IP litigator at Townsend, Townsend and Crew (now Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP).
Ms. Peter received a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering from Cornell University and a master’s in public policy from the University of Chicago. She also holds a Juris Doctor from Santa Clara University School of Law and a Master of Law degree in international business law from King’s College London.
Dr. Joyce Wong is a professor of Biomedical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering at Boston University. She joined BU as a faculty member in 1998 after earning her Ph.D. and Bachelor of Science from MIT. Her research involves development of novel biomaterials for the early detection treatment of disease. Dr. Wong has three issued patents and several more pending.
Dr. Wong is the Inaugural Director of the Provost’s Initiative to promote gender equality and inclusion in STEM at all levels: Advance, Recruit, Retain and Organize Women in STEM (ARROWS). The ARROWS program advocates for women in STEM at all career stages, from early school education to K–12 and academia. She is also Director of Outreach of a NASA-funded Center SHIELD-Drive with the goal of increasing representation in space physics.
Dr. Wong was the first female Chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering. She is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), and Biomedical Engineering Society. She is currently Chair of the College of Fellows of AIMBE.
Dr. Wong is a graduate of the NSF I-CORPS program, and has 3 issued patents and several more pending. She is on the editorial board of many journals and is Associate Editor of the journal Drug Delivery and Translational Research.
Adding to her growing list of honors, Dr. Wong is a recipient of the BU Distinguished Faculty Fellow Award, the BU ENG Charles DeLisi Distinguished Lecture Award, and the BU Graduate Women in Science and Engineering (GWISE) Advocate of the Year Award. She led BU’s efforts in receiving AAAS SEA (STEM Equity Achievement) Change Bronze Award. She recently received the Society for Biomaterials Clemson Award for Basic Research.
On top of all of her achievements, Dr. Wong is also an accomplished cellist.
Dr. Susanna Benn is a patent associate in the Patent group of Nixon Peabody focusing on the life sciences industry. With over fourteen years of experience in counseling clients in a diverse range of patent prosecution-related issues and strategies, she represents academic, nonprofit institutions, biotech and startup companies, and large pharma clients in the areas of diagnostics, therapeutics, and pharmaceuticals.
Dr. Benn is admitted to practice law in Massachusetts and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
At Nixon Peabody, much of Dr. Benn’s work focuses on worldwide patent prosecution for innovative technologies, the early phases of development and strategic management of clients’ patent portfolios, patent landscape, opinion and due diligence work.
Prior to joining Nixon Peabody, Dr. Benn earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from University College of London under the direction of Dr. Clifford Woolf at Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School. Her research focused in the field of pain research and neuronal survival. Following completion of her graduate studies, Dr. Benn joined the laboratory of Dr. Robert Brown at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, where her post-doctoral research focused on therapeutic strategies for neurodegenerative diseases and ALS.
Dr. Benn has presented her work in numerous scientific journals and at international meetings, and has several review articles from her research. Prior to graduate school, Dr. Benn was a research assistant at GlaxoSmithKline in the UK.
Dr. Benn’s support for charitable originations, such as GLAD, demonstrates her compassion and altruism. Her hobbies include mountain biking, travel, and reading.
- BU Technology Development’s Toolkit for Women Innovators.
- One-on-one consultation: Technology Development, ARROWS, and other BU organizations are available for customized support. Reach out to us at any time.