Check Out These “Insanely Practical” Best Practices

Laura Lee Norris
2 min readSep 23, 2021

for Increasing Diversity of Innovators and Inventors

Laura Lee Norris, Associate Clinical Professor

Mary Fuller, Senior Clinical Fellow

Joy Baker Peacock, Interim Managing Director, High Tech Law Institute

Sydney Yazzolino, Tech Edge JD candidate 2022

Santa Clara University School of Law

Santa Clara University’s High Tech Law Institute (HTLI), in collaboration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), is excited to present its Diversity in Innovation Best Practices Manual, version 1.0. The manual is packed with “insanely practical” tips for increasing the diversity of inventors within a wide variety of innovative industries nationwide.

Our research team collected an extensive list of over 90 best-practice suggestions through 6 roundtable sessions held in cooperation with the USPTO, followed by a survey designed to collect information similar to what was discussed in the roundtables. It consolidates the collective wisdom of 73 Intellectual Property professionals and attorneys from the United States’ leading companies. We hope you will find inspiration for implementing changes in your own organization!

The manual is presented in three categories of easy-to-read tables:

Do it Now: Practices that are likely to be budget-neutral, easily implemented, and within the authority of an in-house attorney or IP manager without the buy-in at the highest levels of the company.

Do it This Year: Practices that may require 3–9 months of planning, e.g., because they require coordination with other groups or departments, or creation of content, tools or systems.

Do it Next Year: Practices that will likely take 6–12 months of planning to implement, e.g. because they need to be coordinated with different departments, require moderate or significant budgetary planning, or require buy-in from high level management.

Information is organized by categories representing steps within the patenting lifecycle at a company; including IP awareness, invention disclosure, patent application approval and preparation, inventor incentives, and goals and data tracking. This practical approach is a starting point to provide IP professionals with the tools, information and inspiration to take immediate and sustained action towards creating parity in the inventor population.

As Intellectual Property professionals continue to innovate in their efforts to diversify innovation, we’d love to hear about it. Our optionally-confidential SURVEY will remain open to continue to collect best practices, and we will expect to update the manual periodically.