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?

View Slides


Laura PeterLaura 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.

Joyce Wong

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.

Susanna Benn

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.


Information For...