Lack Of Patent Awards For Black Inventors
Lack of Patent Awards For Black Inventors
Despite the many contributions of black inventors to American innovation, there is still a long way to go before the percentage of Black patent owners in the U.S. reaches even the single digits. This underrepresentation means that the U.S. is missing out on potentially significant inventions due to the low percentage of Black patent owners. But, there are steps the patent office can take to change that statistic.
Dr. Patricia Bath
A lack of patent awards for black inventors has long been a source of concern for many people, including Dr. Patricia Bath. She was a pioneer in the development of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), an advancement that makes it possible to use the Internet to conduct voice calls. This invention has helped make many applications like Skype and Zoom possible. Despite her early retirement from the medical field, Dr. Bath continued to speak and lecture all over the world.
When she was at Drew University, she experienced racism and sexism. However, she continued her studies in Europe, where she was accepted on her merits. She eventually became a world renowned laser scientist, and she holds more patents than any other black female physician. In addition, her inventions are used in eye surgery. However, Dr. Patricia Bath’s lack of patent awards for black inventors is not the only problem facing black inventors.
The lack of patent awards for black inventors has hampered the careers of African Americans. But Dr. Patricia Bath is a pioneer in medical innovation. Her revolutionary Cataract Laserphaco Probe uses laser power to vaporize cataracts in patients’ eyes. This device has helped reduce the risk of blindness worldwide. She has also been the first African American woman to receive an honorary doctorate from Harvard Medical School.
Because of the lack of patent awards for black inventors, Dr. Patricia Bath is a prominent example of how women can overcome the barriers they face in the field of medicine. She is a physician and an advocate for patients’ rights. Bath was born on November 4, 1942, in Harlem, New York. She was the daughter of Rupert Bath and Gladys Bath. Her parents encouraged her to study science and pursue her dreams.
The lack of patent awards for Black inventors has long been a cause for concern, but a recent study sheds new light on the issue. Many Black inventors have been denied patents due to prejudice. Yet the number of African American inventors is increasing, particularly women. And, because Black inventors have fewer resources to pursue their ideas, this problem may be even worse now. In the report, Patricia Carter Sluby, a former USPTO employee, explores how Black inventors are being excluded from the patent system and possible reforms that could help increase the number of patent awards.
The patent system helped identify Black inventors and provided proof that Blacks were capable of thinking independently. This argument was used by White supremacists to deny Black people the right to vote. Despite this lack of recognition, early civil rights activists seized on examples of patentees as government-certified proof that Black people were capable of thinking independently. As a result, the system began to shift, enabling Black inventors to compete with Whites.
Other notable black inventors who earned patents include T.J. Magruder, who invented a pocket book and a spring bed bottom, as well as John Chestnut, who made a safety harness buckle. Other inventors of inventions in the past decade include John Nester and B. R. Cole. Their contributions to the American economy are often overlooked, as they were not part of the White House’s system.
Throughout history, Black inventors have worked tirelessly to break down barriers and become recognized as the creators of great technology. The US Patent Office still refuses to reveal the racial identity of Black inventors. However, ongoing research continues to identify the extent of Black invention in North America. It is clear that many more Black inventors are still overlooked. It’s time to change that.
While there is little evidence of a lack of patent awards for black inventors, the data does point to an underrepresentation. During the golden age of the American patent system, Black inventors tended to produce more patents than their white counterparts, and in many communities, the rate was higher. For example, in 1870, Black residents of Washington, D.C. produced nearly 1,000 patents per million people, roughly on par with the rate in contemporary San Francisco and San Jose. From 1870 to 1940, only sixteen metropolitan areas produced more patents than Black residents in Washington, D.C.
Nevertheless, it was not all bad news. Aside from Katherine Johnson, the first African American to receive a patent for an invention was Daniel Hale Williams, who invented the dry-cleaning machine. At the time, most African Americans did not have the right to claim intellectual property as their masters considered them their property. However, Jennings, born free, made use of the income from his patents to free himself and his family from slavery, and to fund a variety of abolitionist causes.
Moreover, the lack of patent awards for Black people highlights the history of white wealth in the United States. Despite the fact that Black people contributed to American industrialization during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, the patent system systematically denied them access to the economic opportunities associated with the invention of new products and technologies. Jim Crow laws and racial violence further inhibited the invention of products and ideas by African-Americans. Even today, black inventors remain underrepresented in the ranks of patent applicants and awardees, despite their contribution to the world’s wealth.
This gap in patenting is particularly evident in southern states, where the percentage of blacks and whites filing patent applications is almost half that of Black inventors. Further, there is also an underrepresentation among women and minorities in patenting. For example, female inventors file for patents at only 20 percent of the U.S. patents, while Black inventors only obtain 22 percent of patents.
Bishop Curry V
The Letter to Congress notes that in the past decade, the number of patent cases filed in the Eastern District of Texas increased from 14 to almost 200 per year. These numbers increased to nearly 1,200 in 2012 and more than doubled to 2,540 in 2015. Between 2007 and the first half of 2016, the Eastern District of Texas was responsible for nearly 20 percent of all patent litigation nationwide. Its procedural rules attract plaintiffs and delay the ability of defendants to obtain summary judgment.
Patent law’s “person skilled in the art” is a key legal fiction. Much like the tort law term “reasonable person,” the term can be a myth. In Beck by Chain v. Thompson, the 5th Circuit described “reasonably prudent person” as an “mythical legal fiction.” Similarly, a person of ordinary skill in the art is neither a genius nor a layperson.
The lack of patent awards for black inventors has been a longstanding problem in America. Since the 1857 Dred Scott ruling, which declared Americans of African descent to be non-U.S. citizens and therefore ineligible to receive patent protection, the patent system has been out of reach for many African-Americans. While the patent system does not explicitly exclude Black inventors, the system is not equal and Black inventors have been left out of the patent system for a variety of reasons.
The lack of patent awards for Black people highlights the history of white wealth in the United States. While Black people contributed to the industrialization of the United States during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, the patent system prevented them from benefiting from these opportunities. Jim Crow laws and racial violence also hampered the success of African-American inventors, reducing patenting rates among Blacks. Despite these historical barriers, African-Americans remain underrepresented among patent applicants, patent award winners, and inventors of all backgrounds, including African-Americans. Despite their contributions, African-Americans continue to be underrepresented in patenting, despite being some of the wealthiest people in the world.
The report published by the patent office acknowledges the underrepresentation of Black inventors. In addition to underrepresentation among African-Americans, there are disparities between the number of patents held by Hispanics and women. While the government has taken steps to change this, the progress has been slow. This year, lawmakers introduced the IDEA Act, a bill that would require the patent office to collect and publish data on patent applicants. This legislation has yet to be passed, but it is a start.
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