IPO research shows low levels of female inventors

A new report published by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has suggested that the world is failing to take advantage of innovative ideas by women.

The study has suggested that female investors account for less than 13 per cent of patent applications worldwide, which means that for every female inventor, there are seven male inventors.

The figures show that the proportion of female patent applications is growing, but that at the current rate, they will not reach gender parity until 2070.

Researchers believe that the lack of women working in science, engineering, maths and technology (Stem) contributes heavily towards the lack of female patent applicants.

Patents are granted to the owner of an invention, which allows the creator and any owners of the patent to prevent others from using it.

To qualify as an invention, the application must contain a new, useful idea that would not be obvious to a skilled person in the sector.

The applications can either be filed as an individual or by a team of inventors. The statistics show that the teams are largely male, with two-thirds of all patents coming either from an all-male team or from an individual male inventor.

The figures from the IPO study show that just six per cent of all patents are from individual female inventors, while just 0.3 per cent of all patent applications came from all-female teams.

Experts believe that an increase in women taking up Stem subjects at university would lead to more entering a career in research, and subsequently filing more patents.

The current figures show that only a quarter of the UK workforce in STEM sectors is female, with fewer women studying the subjects at school and university.