March 10, 2021 | Mary Hannon to Speak on “Evaluating the Effect of the USPTO’s Gatekeeping Criteria on the Diversity of the Patent Bar” | Webinar

March 10, 2021

Licensing Executives Society International (LESI)’s Women in Licensing Alliance (WILA) will be hosting a webinar titled, "Evaluating the Effect of the USPTO’s Gatekeeping Criteria on the Diversity of the Patent Bar" on March 10, 2021. The WILA, including WILA Chair and Co-Founder Pamela Cox, will be joined by speaker Patent Agent Mary Hannon, both of Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP, to discuss the patent bar gender gap. Their discussion will include insights from Mary’s recent article on this topic, which was featured in the Indiana University Maurer School of Law's IP Theory and has sparked a conversation being discussed in other leading publications.

Date and Time: March 10, 2021 between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Central
Event Name: Evaluating the Effect of the USPTO’s Gatekeeping Criteria on the Diversity of the Patent Bar
Where: Zoom

Register to attend the "Evaluating the Effect of the USPTO's Gatekeeping Criteria on the Diversity of the Patent Bar" webinar.

The USPTO requires all individuals interested in becoming a patent practitioner to pass a six-hour, 100-question examination. However, this examination is not open to all. It is reserved for those who possess certain “scientific” and “technical” expertise, which can be demonstrated by the following:

  • Possession of an undergraduate degree in one of thirty-two enumerated subjects;
  • A particular number of credits in physics and/or chemistry, either alone or in combination with additional science courses; or
  • Passage of the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam.

While these criteria appear gender-neutral, Mary argues in her article that there is a de facto discriminatory impact, as these criteria fail to embrace sciences in which women or minorities are more likely to pursue. Studies have found that only about ~18% of registered patent practitioners are women. This webinar will discuss why, while efforts are made to increase diversity within STEM more broadly, the USPTO should consider expanding and diversifying its criteria in order to bring greater diversity to the practice of patent law.

Pam, in her role as Chair of LESI’s Women in Licensing Alliance (WILA), will moderate the discussion. Pam is also the Corporate Secretary and a Member of the Board of LESI, Founder of LESI Life Science Advisory Board, and former Vice-Chair of External Relations Committee, Chair of LESI Life Science Committee, International Delegate for LES USA-Canada and Chair of the LES USA/Canada Chicago Chapter. At Marshall Gerstein, she is Chair of the IP Transaction Practice and leads the firm’s Women’s Committee, among other responsibilities.

Mary is currently pursuing her JD from DePaul University College of Law and is a member of Marshall Gerstein’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee. Mary actively promotes and raises awareness for diversity in the legal field and is an advocate for inclusivity. 

Founded in 1973, and incorporated in 2000, Licensing Executives Society International (LESI) is the umbrella organization of national and regional associations for licensing executives. Founded in 2019, the LESI Women in Licensing Alliance’s (WILA) mission is to advance the growth of women in leadership through education, mentoring and, networking opportunities. WILA serves as a gathering point for education on the international efforts advancing the skills and leadership of women, and offers international networking and mentorship opportunities. LESI is well positioned to bring women and men together from around the world to share experiences in professional advancement and cultivate a culture of inclusion and support for the advancement of women in licensing.

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