Colleen Chien Ernest Fok JD '21
Colleen Chien's Patent Class Spring 2021
Clockwise: United States Patent and Trademark Office logo, Professor Colleen V. Chien; Teaching Assistant Ernest Fok (Class of ’21), Image of Chien’s Patent Law course students who responded to the USPTO’s request for comments.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and National Council for Expanding American Innovation (NCEAI) sought input from the public to guide its Strategy for American Innovation, a national strategy to build a more demographically, geographically, and economically inclusive innovation ecosystem. In response, Santa Clara Law students in Professor Colleen Chien’s Patent Law course drew upon their rich, diverse backgrounds and collectively submitted 13 comments to the USPTO with recommendations to make innovation more representative of the United States.

This class of 20 students includes:

  • 15% of students having PhDs, and 33% having advanced technical degrees,
  • Two former USPTO externs,
  • 25% of students who are patent agents, combining for decades of patent prosecution experience,
  • One inventor, and
  • Former worker in a University Tech and Commercialization Office.

This collective submission summarizes the diversity in Santa Clara Law’s patent course and highlights some ideas that draw heavily from personal and professional experience. At a high level, these comments addressed:

  • Incentivizing women and minorities to participate in the patenting process, by Stella Collet and Santa Clara Law student.
  • Emphasizing creativity and novel idea generation in school curricula, by Grant Wanderscheid and Erik Perez (Twitter: @erik_perez18).
  • Growing awareness and innovation in rural and disadvantaged communities, by Matthew Carter and Garrett Pierson.
  • Preparing our high school teachers to educate the next generation of students about the patenting process, by Sung (Kyle) Lee and a Santa Clara Law with a science Ph.D. and extensive patent prosecution experience.
  • Supporting increasing rates of invention, entrepreneurship, and recruitment of underrepresented groups, by John (Max) DiBaise, Michael Costello-Caulkins, and 3L Santa Clara Law with experience at the USPTO.
  • Removing barriers to hiring and intra-team collaborations, by a Santa Clara Law student.
  • Destigmatizing queerness in STEM fields and invention, by Ernest Fok.
  • Helping individual inventors and small business through an updated USPTO website and informal events, by Matt Hodgson (USPTO Reg. No. 76,910) and Tyler Cox (USPTO Reg. No. 76,130).
  • Supporting diversity among patent attorneys and agents, by a SCU law student and Santa Clara Law student with a strong patent prosecution background.
  • Securing financial support for an expanded diverse group of inventors and entrepreneurs, by Dr. Li Guo.
  • Driving innovation investment in minority women innovators by targeting small businesses through the tax code, by tax professional Sajeev Sidher, who is commenting in his individual, law student capacity.
  • Boosting innovation through conference partnership, by Dalton Chasser.
  • Conducting in-depth study on patents with all-woman inventor teams, by a 3L Santa Clara Law with a life sciences Ph.D. and extensive patent experience at major law firms and Bay Area tech companies.

    Read their comment here.