- Amazon, Cruise, The Walt Disney Company, Google, Meta, and Microsoft have partnered to create the Advancing Diversity Across Patent Teams (ADAPT) initiative, which will seek to boost diversity, equity and inclusion in the intellectual property industry.
- The companies, which are all members of fellow partner LOT Network, plan to make DEI resources and programs more accessible to companies of all sizes as a key component of their efforts. ADAPT will initially focus on the patent industry, but it plans to broaden its mission to other areas of IP down the line.
- “The IP profession has a duty to meaningfully represent experiences and viewpoints as diverse as the society in which we live,” said Mike Lee, head of patents at Google. “This is what brings out the best in us and is the right thing to do.”
Just 22% of registered patent attorneys and patent agents are women and only 6.5% are racially diverse, according to data from the American Bar Association highlighted on ADAPT’s website. And just 1.7% of registered patent attorneys and patent agents are racially diverse women.
IP leaders at the large companies that have established ADAPT in partnership with LOT Network hope the initiative can play a key role in improving those figures.
“Great talent and people exist everywhere, but too often opportunity does not,” said Olivia Tsai, assistant general counsel and head of IP at Cruise. “We have to be deliberate in finding, welcoming, including, and recognizing those from underrepresented groups who make us stronger and better.”
ADAPT plans to provide a database with how-to-guides for running DEI programs, as well as a directory of sponsorship activities of DEI organizations.
A second core pillar of the initiative is the ADAPT Mentorship program, which will be geared toward supporting underrepresented IP professionals.
Additionally, ADAPT plans to track and publish DEI statistics over time to provide transparency about how the IP industry is doing in diversifying its ranks.
“ADAPT is formed around a set of key actions for participating organizations, including broadly sharing DEI resources, mentorship, data, and knowledge,” said Burton Davis, vice president and deputy general counsel of the Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft. “Establishing a set of shared priorities will help deliver more meaningful progress, faster.”
ADAPT will officially launch on September 28 at the annual LOT Network BRIDGE member meeting in San Francisco.
LOT Network is a nonprofit that helps companies and their general counsel take proactive steps to fight back against patent assertion entities (PAEs), also known as patent trolls, via conditional licenses. LOT also offers a platform upon which initiatives like ADAPT that benefit the IP industry as a whole are built.
The LOT Network event in September will include a half-day session on DEI led by a consortium of IP leaders from Google, Meta, Microsoft, Disney, Cruise, and Amazon.
ADAPT said it welcomes participation from all companies, including those that are not members of LOT Network.