Best Practices to Foster Diversity and Inclusion in the Invention Process
INFORMED CONSENT: You do not need to participate in this survey; participation is completely optional. There will be no penalization for non-participation/non-completion. Your submission of survey responses indicates your consent, so please read the following.
It is expected this survey will take approximately 7-10 minutes to complete.
Your responses to this survey will be anonymously collected and will be used and reported in an aggregated manner by Santa Clara University Law Professor Laura Norris (Associate Clinical Professor), Mary Fuller (Sr. Clinical Fellow) and Joy Peacock (Interim Managing Director, High Tech Law Institute). Your responses to this survey will be used in our research project, which is attempting to collect and report on best practices to foster diversity and inclusion in the invention process. If you have questions regarding this survey itself, feel free to contact Professor Norris at
Santa Clara School of Law is conducting a study to identify, understand, and provide actionable advice about the best practices for attracting and including diverse inventors in the invention and patenting process.
Thank you for your interest in contributing to our study. We estimate that this survey will take 20 minutes. If you do not share your name and email with us (see last question), your survey responses will be confidential. However, if you are willing to share your identity, you will receive our completed findings.
The survey focuses on capturing the best practices used by companies, lawyers, industry groups, and individual inventors for fostering diversity and inclusion in the invention process. Diversity can mean many things in different contexts, but generally, we are focusing on traditionally disadvantaged groups.
IF YOU WORK FOR MULTIPLE CLIENTS (e.g. at a law firm) - please fill out the company information regarding the client (if you want, you can fill out more than one for multiple clients).
IF YOU WORK PRIMARILY FOR ONE COMPANY or CLIENT (e.g. in-house counsel or outsourced in-house counsel, consultant, or employee) - please fill out the information with regard to your employer or primary client.
The survey asks some basic questions about your role and your company's demographic information. lt then asks a few broad questions to capture information about your biggest successes, failures, and "aha" moments specific to efforts to increase diversity and inclusion in the invention process. For this survey, the "invention process" relates to inventions that are identified for purposes of patent and trade secret protection or that qualify for incentives under your company's inventor incentive program. It does not mean that the inventions have to be successfully filed as patents.
The survey asks more specific questions relating to the areas of Awareness, Disclosure,
Incentives, and Goals and Data Tracking. You don't have to answer every question, but we'd appreciate it if you could!
1. Do you work for primarily one company or client (e.g. in-house counsel or outsourced in-house counsel, consultant or employee), or as an outside counsel or consultant to multiple clients?
In-House Counsel or Employee
Outsourced In-House or Consultant (one company or client)
Service provider (Attorney or Consultant) for multiple clients (if so, please complete this form for only one specific client)
2. Please describe your job title or role with respect to the invention process at your employer or client.
3. Please describe the size of your client or employer by number of employees globally.
4. Please describe your client or employer's industry.
5. On average, how many patents does your client or employer file per year?
1 - 50
6. Is your client or employer headquartered in the United States? If not, where are they headquartered?
7. Does your client or employer offer any programs designed to increase diversity and inclusion generally? Please describe.
8. Describe the successful programs that your client or employer uses to increase diversity and inclusion in the invention process.
9. Describe the failures or major obstacles that you have encountered or witnessed in trying to increase diversity and inclusion in the invention process.
10. Describe your "aha" moments relating to diversity and inclusion as it relates to the invention process.
11. Awareness: How does someone at your client or employer know when they have an invention?
12. Awareness: Does your client or employer have any special innovation-focused programs for diverse inventors? If yes, how do they promote or increase awareness with diverse audiences?
13. Awareness: Does your client or employer have training programs relating to inventions or IP? Who gets invited? Who does the training?
14. Disclosure: How does an inventor get involved in the patent disclosure process at your client or employer?
15. Disclosure: Does your client or employer have blue sky, brainstorming, or harvesting events? If yes, who gets invited? Do they intentionally include "new" inventors? For example, prior or prolific inventors, R&D engineers, or all employees? Who decides who gets invited? For example, the CEO, a manager, patent attorney, or a project manager?
16. Disclosure: Does your client or employer have a patent committee? Who is on it? How does it work? Does the committee have or discuss diversity goals?
17. Disclosure: Who decides who should be listed as an inventor on a patent at your client or employer?
18. Disclosure: Does your client or employer revisit the inventors listed on a patent or application? If yes, describe the process.
20. Incentives: Does your client or employer have an inventor incentive program? If so, what efforts do they make to include incentives to attract diverse employees?
21. Goals and Data: Does your client or employer have annual patent goals? Company-wide? Individual?
22. Goals and Data: Today, what inventor-related data does your client or employer collect and/or measure?
24. Goals and Data: Does your client or employer have specific KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) relating to diversity in innovation or invention or patents? If so, how are they formulated and tracked?
23. Goals and Data: Does your client or employer have any obstacles to collecting or sharing inventorship diversity data? Does the IP function partner with HR?
25. Additional comments you'd like to share?
26. Your name and email (optional)
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