Christopher M. Turoski ’98
Assistant Professor of Patent Law Programs
Prof. Turoski Provides Expert Analysis and Opinion to Law360
Professor Chris Turoski provided expert analysis and opinion in his piece titled "We Need Reliable Data On Patent Agent, Atty Gender Diversity," which published in Law360. According to the piece:
- New data shows four times as many women become patent agents (22.78%) than patent attorneys (5.65%). Can this be correct? Several organizations and associations are working to identify accurate data to characterize current diversity in the patent bar and establish metrics.
- The "Mr." and "Ms." designation instituted by the USPTO is a less than perfect proxy for gender because it permits only a binary choice of "Mr." or "Ms.," which is not reflective of our modern understanding of gender. Yet, the USPTO’s mere collection of this data improperly compels its use as a proxy for gender. The designation should be updated or replaced.
- The question “what percentage of registered patent practitioners are women?” begs the further question: “what percentage of registered patent practitioners are patent agents who are women?" Is the class of patent agents more diverse than the class of patent practitioners overall? More specifically, are women more likely to become and maintain status as patent agents compared to the status of patent attorneys?
- Although some oppose the collection of this data based on potential abuse, such data would provide a more accurate and reliable measure of the diversity of patent practitioners, which would inform whether increasing the number of patent agents would significantly increase the diversity of the patent bar.