How Three Women Beat The Odds To Become Award-Winning Inventors

August 29, 2018

Stephen Key, 2018-2019 AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador
Contributor for

More women around the world are patenting their inventions. That’s what the World Intellectual Property Organization reported earlier this year on World IP Day. Of the 243,500 international patent applications published in 2017, 31% included women — nearly 10% more than a decade ago.

Interestingly, half of all PCT applications filed by the academic sector included women inventors, compared to only 30% for the business sector.

I’ve been inventing products for my entire career. Over the past two decades, I’ve helped inventors from more than 60 different countries. Some are as young as 15 and others as old as 82. They are doctors, lawyers, dentists, plumbers, toy inventors, professional athletes, famous actors, construction workers, housewives, nurses, patent attorneys, app developers — you name it.

What they share in common is a desire to bring their inventions to market.

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know a group of inventors who are not motivated by commercial gain. Not whatsoever. Nurse Rachel Walker, senior solutions architect Florence Lu, and chemist Mary Kombolias want to make the world a better, more efficient and empathetic place by solving the challenges around them. This summer, their stories of perseverance struck me at an event celebrating invention hosted by the AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador program. (I am honored to be among the cohort of 2018-2019 Invention Ambassadors.)

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