As we reflect on the year gone by, it is heartening to see the tangible impact Patent Pathways™ has had on diversifying the patent field. Our nonprofit has taken significant strides in 2023 to foster inclusion and empower underrepresented communities, ensuring that the spirit of innovation is accessible to all.
In 2023, we welcomed 21 dedicated participants to the program, each bringing their unique perspectives and backgrounds to the world of patents. With 33 sessions held throughout the year, we’ve laid down a solid foundation of knowledge and skill-building, equipping our participants with the tools they need to thrive in the patent field as they prepare for their first careers and taking the patent bar.
The effectiveness of our initiative is evident in the achievements of our participants thus far — 13 of whom have found full-time employment in the field, thereby increasing representation and bringing fresh talent to the table. Moreover, the rigorous preparation provided by the PLI patent bar preparation training and our dedicated mentors has enabled 3 participants to pass the challenging patent bar, securing their titles as registered patent practitioners.
Our community’s strength is reflected in the partnerships that bolster our program. With 23 law firm partners and 3 corporate sponsors joining hands with us, we’ve created a robust network of support that propels our participants toward success.
Our dedicated mentor volunteers have been another backbone of Patent Pathways™, offering their time, expertise, and guidance. Of our 90 mentor volunteers, the 42 paired mentors have established meaningful connections with participants, ensuring that each individual receives personalized attention and support. We’ve additionally had 25% of mentors continue to mentor beyond the original commitment, and have begun hosting virtual mentor coffee sessions so our mentors can interact and discuss best practices.
The collective efforts of our 55 committee members across 8 crucial committees has been instrumental in supporting the expansion of the program, from recruiting participants, marketing the program, garnering law firm and corporate partners, refining our program sessions, pairing and training mentors, and raising a whopping $166,880. This funding is imperative in scaling our impact and reaching even more aspiring patent professionals.
The success of Patent Pathways™ is further illustrated by the 22 incoming participants of our January – May 2024 program, eager to dive into the intricacies of patent law and contribute to a more inclusive industry.
As we celebrate these milestones, Patent Pathways™ stands proud of its journey since being incorporated as a 501(c)(3) in 2022. Our vision for a more inclusive patent community is becoming a reality, and it’s all thanks to the unwavering dedication of everyone involved.
Let’s continue to break barriers and build bridges in the patent world. Together, we are paving the way for innovation that is reflective of the diverse society we serve.
To learn more about Patent Pathways™ and how you can contribute to this transformative journey, check out these useful links below!
Want more? Watch Elaine Spector’s Driving Diversity series HERE. Elaine shares tips and sparks conversations to drive diversity in the legal field in this weekly short-video series.