Industry and academia join forces to increase diversity in innovation

BERKELEY, CA, USA, AUGUST 3, 2021 — The United States Intellectual Property Alliance (USIPA) and the University of California at Berkeley Fung Institute announce the successful conclusion of their virtual conference on Increasing Diversity in Innovation (DII). The comprehensive four-day event brought together notable business leaders and leading academics, along with members of the diversity & inclusion, technology, and intellectual property (IP) communities to explore how companies can better and more meaningfully incorporate their existing underrepresented inventors into the innovation ecosystem.

Additionally, USIPA and UC Berkeley unveiled the Diversity Pledge, an industry initiative in which companies commit to implementing best practices to increase inventor diversity and share relevant data. The Diversity Pledge was designed to facilitate collaboration among corporations who collectively represent the largest filers of US patents. The 30 Founding pledgees include; Adobe, Ancestry, AT&T, BlackRock, Chr. Hansen, Cisco, Dropbox, Equifax, F5, Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Lenovo, LinkedIn, Lumentum, Microsoft, NetApp, Nielsen, Palo Alto Networks, PayPal, Procter & Gamble, Pure Storage, SAP, Seagate, Twilio, Uber, Viavi Solutions, View and Western Digital. More information about the Diversity Pledge, founding pledge companies and pledge supporters can be found at

“USIPA and UC Berkeley are excited to have launched this new industry initiative and view the Increasing Diversity in Innovation conference and the Diversity Pledge as only the beginning. We look forward to providing more data, research and transparency to this important effort to help drive actionable and measurable change,” said Suzanne Harrison, USIPA Diversity & Inclusion co-chair.

“The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s National Council for Expanding American Innovation (NCEAI) celebrates and welcomes efforts to improve the diversity and inclusion of America’s innovation sector. The IP economy is strengthened through enhanced diversity and inclusion initiatives that inspire aspiring inventors and entrepreneurs of all ages and all walks of life to pursue careers in innovation. On behalf of the USPTO, I commend the leadership of both the USIPA and UC Berkeley to improve diversity and inclusion in the IP ecosystem, illustrated by this important event and its advancement of the pledge for Diversity in Inventorship,” said Valencia Martin-Wallace, Deputy Commissioner for Patents at the US Patent and Trademark Office.

“At SAP, our commitment to diversity and inclusion is critical to our success. As a global organization with employees from 150+ nationalities, our employees must feel free to be their authentic selves for our company to perform at its best. Our culture of inclusion helps ensure that everyone — regardless of background — feels included and can run at their best. When we collaborate with others who have different points of view, it creates a greater mix of ideas and spurs innovation. SAP is proud to partner with the other signatories of the Diversity Pledge to understand and address any barriers individuals may face in seeking protection for their innovation. That is How We Run.”— Anthony L. DiBartolomeo, Senior Vice President/Chief IP Officer, SAP

“In today’s complex environment, innovation happens with diverse teams. BlackRock is proud to sign the Increasing Diversity in Innovation pledge, so we can do our part to discover and support underrepresented inventors. We know that only by harnessing the different backgrounds and experiences of our people can we continue to challenge the status quo, inspire innovation, and deliver best-in-class solutions for our clients and for the communities where we operate. BlackRock is a firm of innovators and creative collaborators because we are diverse.” — Michelle Gadsden-Williams, Global Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, BlackRock

To learn more about the USIPA, please visit or contact Carol Beckham, at



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