Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA) released the following statement after the passage of bipartisan H.R. 6758, the Study of Underrepresented Classes Chasing Engineering and Science Success (SUCCESS) Act. This legislation was modified from what she introduced earlier this year, and that is designed to close the gender, race, and income gap in patenting rates. Women hold less than 20% of all patents, and a 2017 study showed that racial minorities hold between 8% and 13%.
The SUCCESS Act directs a study to be done by the Small Business Administration and the Patent and Trademark Office to identify best practices for closing the race, gender, and income gaps in patenting rates for small businesses. This study will be critical in developing policies to help these underrepresented groups further engage in the entrepreneurial activities that are the backbone of our American economy.
“Promoting greater diversity in our up and coming entrepreneurs is an important aspect in maintaining strong economic growth and ensuring that our innovation economy remains top-notch and competitive. The SUCCESS Act is a tool that will help us close the gender, income, and race gaps in patenting to increase the diversity of our entrepreneurs.” said Congresswoman Comstock. “The diversity of experience from these entrepreneurs will bring fresh leadership to the table as our small businesses build on their local success and help grow the local economy and bring local jobs to our communities. Women small business owners and other underrepresented populations deserve a level playing field with larger enterprises in protecting their intellectual property, and this bill will help achieve that goal.”
The Congresswoman was pleased to meet with Krista Woods, who is the creator of GloveStix, and discuss her ongoing experience in getting a patent. Woods serves as an inspiration to our participants in our Young Women’s Leadership Program and this bill as a small business owner. Krista said, “As someone with firsthand experience applying for a patent, I know the costs in both time and money. It is not unusual for patents to cost $8,000 to as much as $25,000 and take from two to three years. As a small business owner, these hurdles can really hurt your bottom line and so many people can’t afford to continue the process. That is why we need to help the patent office improve their process – so we all have equal opportunity, especially for small businesses.”