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Jessica Stauring and Nicole GalliCourtesy Photo Jessica Stauring and Nicole Galli Courtesy Photo

In recent years, the gender gap in patenting has come into the spotlight, with hearings on the Hill and in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) highlighting that the issue is as much (and perhaps more) about women inventors not seeking to patent their inventions as it is about women not inventing at all. Various ideas have been promulgated about how to address these concerns. And now, we have a new opportunity to think innovatively about this problem.

At the end of last year, thanks to a law review article written by patent agent and law student Mary T. Hannon titled “The Patent Bar Gender Gap,” a spotlight has been shown on another aspect of the gender gap in patent law, this time the lack of women patent attorneys. Hannon’s well considered and thought-provoking article quickly caught the attention of members of the Senate. As a result of their interest, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is now considering possible solutions to the problem, including some proposed by Hannon.

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