A research team from Santa Clara Law’s High Tech Law Institute (“HTLI”) has published an “insanely practical” manual of best practices for increasing diversity in innovation, intended to be a valuable tool for in-house intellectual property and innovation managers. The study was conducted in collaboration with the United States Patent Office (“USPTO”), who assisted in kicking off the study by populating 6 roundtable sessions with highly innovative companies from around the nation.

The research team, consisting of Santa Clara Law faculty members Laura Norris and Mary Fuller, HTLI Interim Managing Director Joy Peacock, and Tech Edge J.D. 3L Sydney Yazzolino, collected an extensive list of over 90 best-practice suggestions through the roundtable sessions and a follow-on survey designed to collect information similar to what was discussed in the roundtables. It consolidates the collective wisdom of 73 Intellectual Property professionals and attorneys from the United States’ leading companies. The practicality of the manual is evidenced by the categorization of the information into three categories: Do it Now; Do it This Year; and Do it Next Year.

“We organized our results to be biased towards immediate action, no matter what the reader’s sphere of influence or budgetary authority in the company. There are plenty of best practices that can be implemented now, with little or no management buy-in or cost,” said Laura Norris, Associate Clinical Professor and principal investigator of the study.

The study adds to a growing body of research about diversity and inclusion in inventorship and innovation by Santa Clara Law professors Professors Norris, Eric Goldman, and Colleen Chien, as well as affiliated faculty, staff, and law students. Santa Clara Law also recently became one of the first law schools to become a supporter of the Increasing Diversity in Innovation Diversity Pledge, a commitment to working to understand and address the issue of underrepresented inventors.

The study continues to be ongoing, with the intention that the manual will be updated from time to time.  The optionally-confidential survey can be found here.


Mary Fuller

Senior Clinical Fellow

Laura Norris

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; Associate Clinical Professor; Co-Director, High Tech Law Institute; Director, Entrepreneurs' Law Clinic; Director, Tech Edge J.D. Program; Faculty Advisor, ChIPs Women in Tech Law at SCU